Author - Richard

Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile Dysfunction

Treat Erectile Dysfunction Cardiff

Erectile dysfunction Cardiff man disappointed
Erectile dysfunction can affect any age group

Occasional Erectile dysfunction is not an uncommon situation. The impact of stress, anxiety, fatigue and excessive alcohol can temporarily affect your ability to get an erection. More persistent erectile dysfunction however could be a sign of underlying health problems and requires a medical diagnosis. Recurring erectile dysfunction can affect about 10% of the male population in any age group. Its frequency increases with age, even though age is not considered a cause of the condition. In the 50-59 age group the frequency is more than double that of the 18-29 age group.

Erectile Dysfunction Cardiff:
Definition of erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction, sometimes referred to as impotence, is defined as the inability to achieve and maintain a firm erection for the duration of the chosen sexual activity. It is commonly associated with problems initiating (or continuing) sexual (or anal) intercourse. Erectile dysfunction can also affect oral sex and masturbation.

Erectile Dysfunction Cardiff:
Implications of erectile dysfunction

Sex is an important part of a fulfilling relationship. But when something is hindering your capacity to enjoy your sex life, it can be challenging for both you and your partner. How can it affect you?

Erectile dysfunction is a sexual condition that can undermine your self-esteem and self-confidence. How you define your masculinity can be deeply rooted in the ability to sexually satisfy your partner. This expectation can create feelings of failure and embarrassment when you are unable to achieve an erection. It is common to avoid sexual relationships rather than confront your embarrassment during an intimate encounter. You may also feel isolated from your peers because if this issue was to become known, you could then be the focus of social humiliation.

In your relationship, how you communicate with your partner can also affect your erectile dysfunction. A lack of open discussion of your condition can cause a misinterpretation of events. When you continuously refuse your partner’s sexual advances, they can easily think that you have rejected them because you no longer find them attractive. The real reason for your refusal however may be based on your own fear of “failure” that you will not be able to satisfy them sexually. This misunderstanding begins to damage their self-esteem, even though attractiveness is not at the heart of the situation. In reality, you are avoiding the potential embarrassment of yet another “let down” and it can cause you to become quite reserved and isolated in your condition.

Erectile Dysfunction Cardiff:
What happens during an erection?

Before identifying what is causing your erectile dysfunction, it is important to understand what happens when a normal erection takes place. It’s very easy for this physiological process to breakdown.

An erection involves a complex series of functions involving a psychological state of arousal, the nervous system, hormonal and circulatory functions to create localised changes in the penis. Relaxation of the smooth muscle is essential for controlling the flow of blood into the penis.

When aroused, the brain sends signals to the nerves of the penis. Blood flow is increased to the erectile tissues. Sexual stimulation (and continued arousal) encourages the release of chemicals that relax this smooth muscle. Sexual stimulation also dramatically increases and maintains blood flow to the erectile tissues of the penis.

Erectile Dysfunction Cardiff:
What causes erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction can happen at any stage of the erection process. There can be various physical and psychological conditions that contribute to your erectile dysfunction.

Other than by injury or previous surgery, physical conditions include those which affect:

Impotence and the brain
Erections involve a complex series of biological functions

• The flow of blood to your penis -This is the most common physical cause of erectile dysfunction in men over 40 years old. Arteries carrying blood to the penis can become narrowed which means that there is insufficient blood going into the penis to achieve an erection. Several conditions can increase this circulatory risk of erectile dysfunction. They include hypertension (high blood pressure), smoking, heart conditions, diabetes, obesity, lack of exercise and high cholesterol.

• The interference of nerve signals – The sending and receiving of nerve impulses can be interrupted by strokes, multiple sclerosis, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. Without the essential “message” to open “the blood flood gates” from the brain to the nerves of the penis, they will remain closed.

• The presence (or lack) of hormones/chemicals in drugs – Low levels of testosterone, an overactive or underactive thyroid or excessive levels of cortisol (Cushing’s syndrome) can cause your Erectile dysfunction. Drugs contained in prescribed medication can also contribute to your erectile dysfunction and should be discussed with your doctor before you stop taking any medication. Medication for high blood pressure, diuresis (increased urine production) and certain heart conditions are just a few listed medical conditions that could affect you. Recreational drugs including alcohol can also contribute to your erectile dysfunction.

• The structure (anatomy) of your penis – Certain medical conditions that affect the structural tissue of the penis such as Peyronie’s disease can cause your erectile dysfunction. With this condition, erections can be painful and can be a source of stress and anxiety. Very rarely there can be a “venous leak” which prevents blood from being retained in the erectile tissues once it has been pumped there.

Psychological causes of your erectile dysfunction can develop as a reaction to any of the physical causes listed above.

Psychological causes generally inhibit your erection at the stage of arousal. Without arousal the subsequent stages become affected; the nerve signals to the penis, hormonal changes and blood flow.

A psychological cause of your erectile dysfunction is more probable if you can achieve an erection in some situations, but have problems achieving it in other situations e.g. when masturbating but not during intercourse.

Psychological causes include:

• Stress – Stress related to non-sexual issues e.g. coping with work demands, can contribute to your erectile dysfunction. Stress causes the release of adrenaline which narrows the blood vessels, restricting blood flow to the penis. Stress also inhibits nitric oxide from relaxing (expanding) the blood vessels that are associated with the smooth muscle of the penis.

Once sex is “perceived” as problematic because of your erectile dysfunction, further stress is created by negative emotions connected with your condition e.g. frustration or disappointment. A negative cycle of anticipatory anxiety, negative experiences and emotions exacerbates the condition, creating more tension and a fear of failure.

• Anxiety – As with stress, anxiety about non-sexual issues can also contribute to your erectile dysfunction because the same (stress) chemicals are released with negative emotions.

Anxiety specific to sex can be classified as performance anxiety. If you are young, lack any sexual experience or you are starting a new relationship, the pressure of trying to impress your partner can inhibit your ability to relax. When you then add some negative beliefs like perfectionism, fear of embarrassment, fear of failure or social anxiety, it can overwhelm your sexual confidence. With anxiety, you then worry about your erectile dysfunction happening again. You accumulate the “errors” of the previous experiences and transfer the worry into the next situation. Unfortunately, anxiety can direct your mind to the negative symptom (erectile dysfunction) you are trying so hard to avoid!

You can also be anxious about a part of your body and this anxiety preoccupies your sexual performance. Low self (body) esteem may have been created by “put downs” from other people. Or it has been perpetuated by your own limiting self-beliefs based on internal insecurities and low self-confidence. Essentially, you believe that what you have or what you do is not good enough. You desperately seek trust, acceptance and confidence from your partner in the initial stages of the relationship because you have been scarred from previous (self or other people’s) criticism.

• Depression – Psychological arousal sets up the necessary communication between the brain and your sex organs. Being generally depressed however can negatively alter the brain chemistry necessary to stimulate this pathway. As a result, your depression can cause your erectile dysfunction and ultimately you can have less desire for sex (loss of libido).

Any long term condition (such as erectile dysfunction) that is suppressed or that overwhelms an already-stressed disposition can create a reactive depression. It’s yet another problem that exacerbates a feeling of helplessness where too many negative situations further distresses your state of arousal.

Relationship issues and erectile dysfunction
Tension in your relationship can cause erectile dysfunction

• Relationship problems – A new relationship brings a mixture of excitement and anxiety. You feel under pressure to please your partner sexually (performance anxiety), but haven’t established the level of trust required to communicate any of your insecurities. Your inhibitions and worries can also be exaggerated if you have suffered with erectile dysfunction in past relationships or there has been a lack of sexual relationships more recently. Your self-confidence can diminish without having the opportunity to correct the situation “in practise”.

Unresolved arguments and disputes in established relationships can also be a cause for impotence. Conflicts from issues away from the bedroom can create tension and resentment inside the bedroom. And when sex can sometimes be a spontaneous tension-release from a partner’s sulking, the timing of your erectile dysfunction may add yet another layer of frustration in your relationship. You are trying to break the hostile atmosphere between you, but struggle to find a solution to create peace.

Some erectile dysfunction issues persist because there is poor communication generally or about sex in your relationship. Without discussing these issues, there can be an increased feeling of responsibility if your partner’s sexual needs are high and you are unable to satisfy them. Or the demands may be increased because you are trying to start a family and you are feeling the added pressure of not being able to fulfil your part in conception.

In situations where your partner has low self-esteem issues, you may not want to start any intimacy because if you do not achieve an erection, your erectile dysfunction might suggest that they are not attractive enough to arouse you.

When relationships are recovering from traumas like known infidelity, the betrayal can be very damaging. A lack of trust (when your partner has been unfaithful) or guilt (when you have had the affair) can be another cause for intimacy problems. Indeed, even when your affair is not known by your partner, your own guilt and distracted commitment can still cause your impotence.

• Sexual boredom – Arousal is helped by a feeling of excitement but when sex has become a routine, apathy can take over. Since erectile dysfunction increases with age, it may also coincide with those in long-term relationships where it requires more effort to keep sex exciting with a long-term partner. Inhibited communication can be behind the sexual indifference because you feel embarrassed or ashamed to openly discuss your sexual desires with your partner. Or having communicated your desires, your partner is too embarrassed to participate.

• Other issues – Deeper dysfunctional attitudes towards sex can be rooted in traumatic experiences from childhood. They can include sexual abuse or any sexual traumas that cause a stress/anxiety response when you are being intimate. In certain cases, a sexual phobia can develop where any sexual activity can trigger panic attacks.

Other negative attitudes towards sex may come from inhibited religious beliefs or sexual orientation problems. Even porn addiction has some suggested connections with erectile dysfunction depending on how it is used. It is not clear if sexual boredom, an absence of sex or a method of stress relief drives the porn addiction. The connection with porn may be different for each person, dependent on their background, their personalities and their relationships.

There are some claims that excessive masturbation causes erectile dysfunction, but these claims tend to be anecdotal without an understanding of the nature of sex. They can also be prone to gender bias where the sexually-deprived partner wants to point blame on ‘something’ because their sexual relationship has ‘dried up’.

Erectile Dysfunction Treatment Cardiff:
Treating your erectile dysfunction

Medical intervention – A consultation with your doctor or specialist will establish any physiological reason behind your erectile dysfunction e.g. high blood pressure, diabetes or cardio-vascular conditions. Options for treatment relevant to your medical condition will then be identified. In some cases, if your problem is hormonal, your endocrinologist will discuss hormone therapy. If anatomical issues are causing your erectile dysfunction, then surgery could help you. Penile implants (semi-rigid and inflatable) can be inserted, but these are not usually available on the NHS.

Medication – Various medication in the form of phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE-5) inhibitors are prescribed to increase blood flow to the penis. Each type is taken within a period of anticipated sexual activity and requires a dosage that fits your sexual lifestyle. Your doctor will establish if there are any contra-indications e.g. angina or previous heart attacks. As with all medication, there can be side effects e.g. headaches or indigestion, but the prescription can be altered to ensure these are minimised.

There is usually a cost for this prescription but there are some conditions that are exempt e.g. diabetes. You may be given a free prescription if you have had any relevant medical treatment that could directly cause your erectile dysfunction e.g. kidney transplant.

Approaching your doctor is safer than buying on the internet unless you are buying from a reputable supplier. Speak to your doctor about the effective use of natural remedies e.g. vitamins or herbal remedies. There may be a placebo effect with some remedies, but if you believe the product will help you, then (for psychological erectile dysfunction) it can have the desired effect.

Erectile dysfunction Cardiff treats lifestyle issues
Lifestyle changes can help your erectile dysfunction

Reduce risk factors – There are certain lifestyle conditions that increase the risk of developing erectile dysfunction. These include:
• Being overweight,
• Drinking alcohol before sex or drinking in excess,
• Smoking or taking recreational drugs,
• Being physically inactive,
• Feeling constantly tired, fatigued and sleep-deprived,
• Suffering with stress.

These issues are discussed below.

Vacuum pumps – A vacuum pump is a plastic tube that is attached to a hand or battery operated pump. The penis is inserted into the tube and the air is then drawn out of the tube by the pump. As the suction continues, the vacuum then causes blood to fill the erectile tissues of your penis. Once erect, a rubber ring can then be placed around the base of the penis. This acts to reduce the venous outflow, helping you to maintain an erection.

Like any new device, it takes practise to develop confidence using it. There are contra-indications (anti-coagulant medication) and side effects (possible pain and bruising).

Psychological treatments for erectile dysfunction

If your doctor has dismissed any underlying physiological causes of your ED, then exploring your lifestyle issues and psychological causes can help you treat the underlying reasons for your impotence.

Lifestyle issues and erectile dysfunction -

Impotence and smoking
Stopping smoking can help your circulation

As already mentioned above, there are numerous lifestyle issues that can contribute to your erectile dysfunction.

By stopping smoking, you reduce the risk of damage to arteries throughout the body. Nicotine encourages blood vessels to constrict and as you are aware, blood flow is essential for erections.

By avoiding alcohol, you reduce the short-term impact that it can have on your arousal levels. In excess, alcohol can lower testosterone levels (essential for dilation of blood vessels in the penis). The general advice is to drink in moderation, but get to know your limits and its effect on your arousal levels.

Recreational drugs such as narcotics, stimulants and hallucinogens can also have an impact on sexual functioning. Prescribed drugs can cause your erectile dysfunction but should be continued unless you have consulted with your doctor. Alternative medication may be available.

Reduce your weight if are obese by eating healthily. Obesity can increase your likelihood of atherosclerosis which can reduce blood flow to organs including your penis. Being obese also lowers your levels of testosterone which is essential for sexual function. Testosterone increases the availability of nitric oxide which dilates the blood vessels of the penis.

• Take regular moderate exercise. Exercise can help with a number of different health issues. Cardio-vascular exercise can help with more efficient heart and blood vessel functioning to vital organs. It can help to reduce blood pressure (ask your doctor if you have any contraindications to exercise). Muscle tone, general stamina, self-esteem and self-confidence can also be improved. Exercise can help you to lose weight, release your physical tension caused by stress and may help to boost testosterone levels.

Erectile dysfunction Cardiff and stress
Stress and tiredness is a major cause of erectile dysfunction

Anything in excess can be detrimental to your health, so it is important to establish a moderate exercise routine. Long distance cycling can compress the nerves in the pelvic area which can affect arterial blood flow. Moderate your cycle-training if it affects you in this way.

Ensure you have enough relaxation, rest and sleep to counter tiredness and fatigue. Depleted energy levels can be a mood-dampener for your arousal levels. When you are over-tired from a long day at work, the nerve signals from your brain to your sex organs are temporarily interrupted. After a rest period or by the following morning, the situation can be very different! Persistent tiredness and fatigue may indicate another underlying medical condition worthy of investigation by your doctor.

• Manage your stress (see below).

Managing stress and erectile dysfunction

Finding ways to manage your stress can help reduce your erectile dysfunction. You might expect your stress levels to be high during the big life changes that include moving house, being made redundant, changing jobs or being promoted, a change in your relationship (for example a new relationship, separation, divorce, or you are about to become a father). When dealing with these major life events, erectile dysfunction can be fairly common, but your erectile dysfunction should resolve itself as you settle into your life change. You can be more accepting of a temporary situation when you know what is causing your impotence.

When you are under continuous stress, the warning signs might not be obvious. They include emotional reactions like irritability or anger. They can also include physical responses like excessive sweating, changes in your bowel movements and disrupted sleeping patterns. Behaviourally, you may find that habits become excessive or that you procrastinate doing trivial tasks. Erectile dysfunction is one indicator that your stress level is high.

Managing stress can be achieved in several ways. By implementing some of the lifestyle issues above, you may find that this is sufficient to help you cope with the situation (even though the negative situation still exists). It may also reduce the frequency of your erectile dysfunction.

Without pro-actively dealing with your stress, you continue to produce adrenaline and experience the mental and physical effects of this hormone (erectile dysfunction being one of them). Common strategies to manage stress include:

• Talking to others about your problem (off-loading),
• Delegating some of the tasks,
• Problem-solving the situation to eliminate any perceived obstacles,
• Altering your own beliefs and expectations about the situation,
• Finding way to vent your emotions e.g. exercise,
• And learning to relax.

Treating depression and erectile dysfunction

When going through big lifestyle changes, depression can be a common reaction. Sexual arousal is normally lowered by depression. This is because you are not generating enough of the chemicals necessary to stimulate the essential nerve pathways between your brain and your sex organs. Your arousal levels can be low or non-existent depending on the severity of your depression. Those with erectile dysfunction can then develop a further reactive depression (and anxiety) because of the helplessness of your condition

Depression is commonly treated with medication and can be helped with therapy. But there are many strategies that can help you lift your mood and sense of optimism. Some of these strategies are listed above (Lifestyle issues and Managing stress) and involve you:

• Challenging your negative thoughts to elevate you out of your depression
• Setting small achievable goals can give you a feeling of success and help you focus away from your “dark cloud”.
Scheduling goals can help you to re-connect with a moderate level of responsibility where you are in charge. Often depression can be caused by a sense of over-responsibility.
Setting daily goals can also help you to establish a routine. Rumination is common with depression but spending time dwelling on the negatives can pull you down further. Even if you are aiming for a daily 15 minute walk, the exercise can boost your endorphins and help lift your frame of mind.

Treating anxiety and erectile dysfunction

As already mentioned, any negative emotion such as anxiety produces the same stress chemicals that can inhibit your arousal and interfere with nerve signals from the brain to the sexual organs. Your anxiety can be related to non-sexual issues; external events that are dulling your arousal levels e.g. worrying about redundancy. The anxiety can affect many aspects of your life with your erectile dysfunction is one symptom. Medication or therapy is commonly used to treat anxiety, but there are many techniques that can help you cope with your anxiety.

Erectile dysfunction and relaxation
Relaxation can help your erectile dysfunction

Some of these strategies are listed above (Lifestyle issues, Managing stress and Treating depression). Other techniques include:

• Learning relaxation techniques that involve slow, deep abdominal breathing that can help you to ease your physical tension.
• Relaxation techniques can be used with visualisation, where you imagine yourself confidently coping with the situations that are causing you to feel anxious.
• Using this process will help you recognise your anxious negative “self talk”. You can then learn to transform it into believable positive self talk e.g. change “I won’t get this job” into “I have the skills to succeed in this interview”.

Your anxiety can be specific to sexual issues creating a form of sexual performance anxiety. High expectations about your sexual performance can come from a variety of sources. Media portrayal of masculinity can filter down into male youth culture setting up an unrealistic sexual role that you are expected to fulfil. These expectations can be brought into your first sexual encounter as a goal-driven, highly-charged experience (even though you may not really know the ropes yet!) And when it doesn’t go to plan, your perfectionism stores the negative event only to throw up the negative emotion (anxiety) in your future sexual experiences.

If your sexual performance isn’t working for you, consider changing the nature of your performance. Some the strategies above (Lifestyle issues, Managing stress and Treating depression) can help you learn how to relax and approach sex in a different way. The breathing techniques and visualisation of arousal are essential to access a more relaxed state so that your arousal can encourage communication between your brain and sexual organs. In your mind anything that you want to imagine yourself doing will help you.

It can also help to review your underlying beliefs which are making your sexual performance such a pressured experience. Fear of failure, fear of embarrassment and distrust only serve to exaggerate your performance anxiety. Consider what will help you adjust your perspective:

• Does sex have to be perfect every time?
• Is it such a failing if it doesn’t happen this time?
• With erectile dysfunction being so common, is it that embarrassing if it happens today?
• Can I talk to my partner about my worries?
• Can you build up your intimacy in stages?

By considering some of these questions, you begin to challenge your negative habitual thinking. They can help you apply more confident solutions to your anxiety.

Other Self help techniques for erectile dysfunction

Kegel exercises – These exercises are used to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles (also known as the PC muscle). These muscles are activated when you stop urinating mid flow. You can practise tensing these muscles anywhere (but don’t actually practise whilst urinating) e.g. whilst sitting in a chair or standing in a queue, tense three times for ten seconds each; rest for ten seconds in between each one. Practise these exercises up to three times per day. It is believed that by having strong pelvic floor muscles, it can increase the blood supply to the sex organs and create a stronger orgasm.


Masturbation is a natural function that can be used to practise your “peak” aroused state. When used in combination with relaxed breathing techniques and visualisation, it can treat your erectile dysfunction.

When masturbating, visualise what epitomises arousal for you – in whatever situation, with whom and doing whatever arouses you – remember that this is a practise of exciting what is in your mind, even if it doesn’t happen in reality. If an image is a turn-off for you, reject it until you have found your personal peak aroused state. Renew the image often. Whether you tell your partner about this image is completely your choice.

The principle is to individually re-programme arousal in your mind so that the nerve pathways between your brain and sex organs can communicate. It is a form of self-hypnosis. When you have mastered your visualisation on your own, you can then consider introducing your visualisation with your partner (see below).

Practical methods with your partner

When erectile dysfunction has clouded the intimacy with your partner, it’s time to get back to the basics and progressively build it up from there. After discussing this issue, agree that this is the way forward. With you having practised relaxed breathing and visualisation with masturbation, you can take your self-hypnosis into this next transitional stage of recovery.

Sensate focus is the term used to emphasise exploratory pleasurable touch with your partner. In the early stages, it is often (but not always) without touching the sexual organs. It helps to take the pressure off the erection and intercourse thereby removing any performance anxiety. It also helps to re-build the arousal response from the brain to the sexual organs over a period of time; a form of re-sensitisation into enjoyable sexual intercourse.

Both partners can benefit when they can admit that the previous system needs to be rejuvenated. The process requires both partners to be open and communicative about what you enjoyed when “exploring” each other and would like to be repeated in the next session. Explore different areas of the body by varying touch (massage can be a useful way of appreciating therapeutic touch), “mouth work” or using any physical aids e.g. vibrators.

You move through each stage say every two weeks, but this can vary. Both of you being ready to progress is more important. In the first stage concentrate on the whole body but not the sexual organs. Then, in the second stage add some sexual organ stimulation in addition to what you want to keep from the first stage. Orgasm is not the emphasis but may happen incidentally.

If the programme is moving successfully, begin some form of penetration in the third stage but without orgasm being the emphasis. Consider different styles of motion, varying of pace, intensity and style of movement. Be prepared to be open about trying positions, using any research material to build your knowledge. Be sensitive to what the other partner is enjoying, without being overly critical if something is not pleasurable.

Relationship therapy

Erectile dysfunction Cardiff: partners are affected too
Erectile dysfunction can affect partners too

Stress and anxiety from unresolved tensions in your relationship can seep into your intimacy. When you are preoccupied with the issues of a major row, your partner may be ready to let go, but until you are ready, these conflicts can block the arousal centre in your mind. Your erectile dysfunction then becomes a new symptom that blocks your sex life.

When your erectile dysfunction has become a worry for you, it’s important to admit this to your partner. You may want to hide the issue because of the embarrassment and fear of failure. But the relationship will not be able to focus on repairing the problem until it’s out in the open. When the hidden issue persists for too long, it can become be too sensitive to discuss openly. And men generally tend to run away from sensitive issues until the issues have reached catastrophic levels. This is where outside help in the form of relationship therapy can objectively deal with “what is not being communicated” and find practical steps to deal with suppressed issues. Often with erectile dysfunction caused by sexual performance anxiety, the hidden issue is that you are trying so hard to please your partner, that it stops you from being able to relax and enjoy sex.

When erectile dysfunction is generally misunderstood by your partner, it can cause a series of new problems. If your partner has low self-esteem issues, then they may misinterpret erectile dysfunction as a loss of attractiveness; they think that you cannot achieve an erection because you no longer find them desirable. They can become angry and resentful. They can even become suspicious that you are having an affair. In reality, what they believe is so far away from what is happening on your side, that these sensitivities create crossed lines of communication. It adds more pressure on you to “do your part” in bed just so that they can feel desired and “good enough”. Ultimately, when they are suspicious and have jealousy issues, it can help them to believe that you are remaining faithful.

Helping your partner with erectile dysfunction

Supporting your partner with erectile dysfunction is essential for his recovery. Talk to him about the condition, his feelings and concerns. He is likely to feel embarrassed about the condition and he will hope that it will right itself. Often it does once it is out in the open. If the erectile dysfunction does not change, encourage him to have the condition diagnosed by a doctor and explore treatment options. Erectile dysfunction is common and by making healthy changes in his lifestyle as a start, it may cure it. If there is a psychological cause then there are still many treatment options available.

As a partner, his erectile dysfunction will be affecting you too. If your attempt to discuss the issue causes further conflicts, it may be better being handled externally by a therapist. Sometimes a condition like this exposes many suppressed issues in both partners of the relationship.

Erectile Dysfunction Treatment Cardiff:
Treating your erectile dysfunction with Hypnotherapy

Erectile dysfunction Cardiff can help your impotence
Hypnotherapy is an effective way to treat your impotence

When your erectile dysfunction is stress or anxiety-related, hypnotherapy can be an efficient way to treat your condition. Different hypnotherapy techniques can be employed to improve your practise methods and treat underlying psychological causes. What can hypnotherapy do for you?

Identify and treat the cause of your erectile dysfunction – The arrival of negative situations like erectile dysfunction can produce feelings of inadequacy; you get trapped in your erectile dysfunction symptoms and you are unable to separate the emotion from your condition. The negative emotion is stored in your mind from past traumatic events. They act as the cause of your erectile dysfunction. The emotion surges up into your consciousness to warn you about the danger of another “distressing” performance when you are next being intimate. Hypnotherapy can identify your past causes and release the emotion from these traumatic events so that you can freely embrace new positive learning states.

Help to reduce stress and anxiety – Whether your stress and anxiety is external or is now part of your erectile dysfunction, hypnotherapy can lower your stress and anxiety responses. By introducing deep relaxation and breathing techniques into your coping skills, you can break the cycle of worry and ease the pressure that is affecting your sexual performance.

Lift your depression – You can feel helpless when a condition like erectile dysfunction interrupts your intimacy. A reactive depression is only natural when you are fearful of starting a new relationship or struggle to maintain the current relationship. Hypnotherapy can stimulate your “sexual arousal” in your mind helping you to re-connect the necessary communication between your brain and sexual organs.

Motivate you to change your lifestyle – Hypnotherapy is renowned for treating habits. If your erectile dysfunction is a symptom of poor lifestyle habits, then hypnotherapy can help you to improve your sleep habits, lose weight, stop smoking, reduce your alcohol, and start exercising.

Treat negative beliefs that are intensifying your erectile dysfunction – Your sexual confidence can be overwhelmed by obsessive negative beliefs. A one-off loss of erection can turn into persistent erectile dysfunction when you interpret the event with perfectionism, fear of failure, fear of embarrassment or social anxiety. Hypnotherapy can help you dissociate these negative beliefs that have merged into your sexual performance.

Visualisation of your arousal – The images and emotions of your arousal can become contaminated with persistent erectile dysfunction; what used to be a natural experience gets blocked by a concrete wall. With fewer positive experiences, it’s natural to avoid the pressure of yet another let down. As you acquire the essential visualisation techniques to practise with, you can boost the confidence back into your sexual relationship.

Build low self-esteem and low self confidence – Any long term condition such as erectile dysfunction can damage your self-esteem and your self-confidence. Avoidance of your intimacy would be an understandable method of coping but this would severely limit the enjoyment of your relationship. In a deeply relaxed state, hypnotherapy can help your unconscious mind accept suggestions that will raise your self-esteem and self-confidence. Hypnotherapy techniques can be employed to anchor your past confident triggers with your intimacy so that you have a stronger belief in you and your abilities.

Erectile dysfunction and a relaxed lifestyle
Hypnotherapy can treat your erectile dysfunction

Stimulate effective communication with your partner – You and your partner are the best people to resolve your erectile dysfunction. But your communication can become strained when you are playing into each other’s sensitivities and you are trying so hard to please the other partner. In your relationship, you are learning about the values that you both bring into the bedroom; it’s easy to misinterpret your responses and make the situation worse with feelings of responsibility. When these issues are dealt with objectively by a professional therapist, it can help you focus on more open and decisive communication that will resolve some of the underlying obstacles.

Erectile Dysfunction Cardiff: For further information on treatment, contact Richard J D’Souza Hypnotherapy Cardiff


Premature Ejaculation

Premature Ejaculation

Premature Ejaculation Treatment in Cardiff

Premature ejaculation is a common sexual problem amongst men under 40, with 30% - 70% of males being affected. The actual figures may be higher because premature ejaculation is viewed as a taboo subject in male youth culture. Men with premature ejaculation may not admit that they have the condition until it is acute.  

Premature Ejaculation Cardiff: Definition of premature ejaculation

Premature ejaculation is can be simply defined as ejaculating earlier than you (or your partner) would like. Premature ejaculation usually happens before or shortly after penetration with minimal stimulation. It is an unsatisfying experience for both partners. Premature ejaculation is very subjective in nature. What can be “normal” for one male (and their partner) may be premature (or delayed) compared to the expectations of another relationship. The average time for male ejaculation during intercourse is somewhere between 4 - 8 minutes. Premature ejaculation can be a “lifelong” condition that has existed during puberty or “acquired”, which develops later in life. Both can have biological and psychological causes.  

Premature Ejaculation Cardiff: Implications of premature ejaculation

Premature ejaculation treatment can help your relationship
Premature ejaculation can be distressing for you and your partner
Sex is an important part of a healthy relationship. When something is inhibiting your ability to enjoy a satisfying sex life, it can be distressing for you and your partner. Premature ejaculation is one of several sexual conditions that can inhibit the enjoyment of your intimacy, putting a strain on your relationship. As a short-term problem, premature ejaculation can be an annoyance for both partners. Quite often, the condition can just disappear naturally. But as a long term condition, it can impact on your self-esteem and self-confidence. Some men will avoid new relationships rather than face the frustration and embarrassment of their premature ejaculation. Partners of those with premature ejaculation can also suffer distress. If there are communication problems, saying that there they are dissatisfied might put too much pressure on the man with premature ejaculation, making the condition worse. If your premature ejaculation happens before penetration, there could also be problems with conception.  

Premature Ejaculation Cardiff: What causes premature ejaculation?

Your premature ejaculation may have a biological background and thus it is important to have any biological issues diagnosed by your doctor before exploring a psychological connection. For example hyper-sensitivity of the penis can cause premature ejaculation and this would be identified in your pubescent years during masturbation. Or a medical change could have contributed to your premature ejaculation. Your doctor would test for medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, hormone levels or prostate problems before considering other possibilities. In some cases, drug use or alcohol can cause your premature ejaculation, so your doctor will want to discuss any relevant lifestyle issues. Early background experiences can form negative “hurried” and anxious attitudes towards sex. Fear of being caught masturbating can condition the pubescent child to ejaculate quickly. Traumatic experiences can also be a cause for ejaculatory dysfunction. For example, being caught masturbating (and then being punished for it) or being sexually abused can similarly influence your anxious, guilty or shameful attitude to sex. The effects of these experiences may not become conscious until you enter into a sexual and emotional relationship. In addition to early sexual conditioning being the psychological cause of premature ejaculation, there are other psychological and emotional issues that can cause your ejaculatory dysfunction. Physical tension (held in the pelvic and abdominal muscles) can provoke the ejaculatory reflex and low moods from stress and depression are two major influences. The emotions themselves can act as triggers for your premature ejaculation, so that when you feel stressed or depressed, your premature ejaculation is worse. Other common negative emotions include anxiety, embarrassment, frustration, shame, despair, disappointment, guilt and anger. Other personality traits such as perfectionism can increase anxiety about your sexual performance. You place excessive pressure on yourself to please your partner causing a state of tense hyper-arousal. Being self-critical can also cause you to focus on what has “gone wrong” and project the worry of this “mistake” into the next sexual experience. The negative response to your “mistake” can also be intensified if you have social anxiety. You are more prone to feeling embarrassed about your premature ejaculation, escalating your anxious expectations into the next situation. Sexual performance anxiety is common with sexual inexperience and lack of self-confidence, with the tendency to be over-excited. It can also be evident in new relationships where you may want to impress your partner with your sexual prowess. Any situation in which you place a high level of importance will increase your stress levels and likelihood of premature ejaculation. In new relationships, it may feel like it is too early to communicate and discuss your control and intimacy issues. As the anxious male, you are then unable to establish a level of trust. This can be magnified if you have had premature ejaculation in previous new relationships. The likelihood of premature ejaculation is also increased where there has been absence of intimate relationships for long periods. Your anxiety and hyper-sensitivity can increase without having the opportunity to practise acquired control techniques. But even unresolved problems in established relationships can create ejaculatory dysfunction. Emotional conflicts “outside of the bedroom” can leak into the bedroom, causing tension during your intimacy. This can then create a negative cycle of stress, particularly if the partner is unsupportive of your condition, creating even more performance anxiety. Some premature ejaculation issues are specific to the bedroom and become established because of a lack of communication. For example, there can be increases in your partner’s sexual needs leading to hidden anxiety about pleasing your partner. This high expectation on your performance exacerbates your premature ejaculation, overwhelming your ability to satisfy your partner’s needs.  

Premature Ejaculation Cardiff: Treating your Premature Ejaculation

Medical intervention – After a thorough examination by your doctor, they will diagnose what is causing your premature ejaculation and then explore options for treatment. Oral medication in the form of anti-depressants is commonly prescribed. You may not be depressed, but SSRI’s have the useful side effect of delaying ejaculation. As with any medication there can be negative side effects too. For some people, the stigma of taking an anti-depressant influences them to pursue other treatment methods. Topical applications/condoms – The use of anaesthetic sprays and creams can reduce sensitivity, helping to delay ejaculation. Side effects include reactions to the chemicals used and a reported temporary loss of sensation for the partner. Condoms containing these chemicals can be used to reduce sensitivity. Even without the chemicals, a standard condom can be used to reduce sensitivity during sex and help delay ejaculation. Additional lubrication can have the same benefit.

Self-help methods

When things are persistently going wrong on the “playing field”, it’s time to identify what is causing this and apply the solutions into the training sessions. If you don’t have a partner right now or communication isn’t at its best, this means masturbating on your own and (re) learning to control your arousal as a practise for your next intimate opportunity. Without your partner present, you remove any pressure to perform (performance anxiety) and remove the fear of failure. This helps you develop self-confidence in stages and explore various levels of controlled arousal, rather than “all or nothing” responses. Practical methods include “stop-start” techniques that help you learn to control your ejaculatory response. When masturbating, vary the level of stimulation up to the pre-orgasm stage and then reduce the stimulation so that your arousal fades back down to a moderate level. Continue staying in this “zone” over a number of times during the session until you are ready to climax. The “squeeze” method – This method (by Masters and Johnson) involves first stimulating to erection and then squeezing behind the head of the penis (frenulum) for about 10 seconds to slightly reduce arousal. Continue stimulation to the pre-orgasm stage and then squeeze again until the arousal has reduced. Continue this process of “stimulation and squeeze” until you are ready to climax. Kegel exercises – These exercises involve contracting the PC muscle to control ejaculation. The PC muscle can be identified by stopping the flow if urine when you next go to the toilet. If you can stop urinating and start again, you have engaged the correct muscle. It is this specific pelvic floor muscle that also controls ejaculation. Tension in the abdominals, gluteals or thighs can provoke the ejaculatory response, so these muscles need to be kept relaxed. This is also a useful exercise in muscle tension awareness. Practise tightening the PC muscle three times for ten second intervals; rest for ten seconds in between each one. Then, during masturbation, practise tensing the PC muscle prior to orgasm. This helps to delay ejaculation whilst maintaining a level of stimulation.
Visualisation for premature ejaculation
Breathing techniques & visualisation can treat premature ejaculation
Relaxed breathing – Learning how to take deeper breaths can diminish the ejaculatory reflex. Breathing techniques are commonly used in self-hypnosis, meditation and yoga to relieve stress and muscular tension. By practising slow, deep abdominal breaths when not involved in any sexual activity, you can become aware of which muscles are tense and which ones are relaxed. When you have this internal awareness, you can control and release tension using breathing techniques. As mentioned above, tension in the abdomen, thighs and buttocks can trigger the ejaculatory reflex. Controlled tension in the PC muscle can lower the ejaculatory reflex. Master deep breathing techniques and then integrate this muscular tension/relaxation control into your masturbation. Visualisation – What you visualise in your mind is another way of controlling unconscious bodily functions including your premature ejaculation. These images aren’t just on autopilot. Top professional athletes use positive visualisation to get in “the zone” to enhance their peak performance in sport. They also use it to release the affect of traumatic experiences. What you visualise can also affect what happens during sex. Think of something stressful and your heart will beat faster, your breathing will become shallow and your body will create muscular tension. These conditions are more likely to trigger you premature ejaculation. But if you visualise a calmer state of arousal, then it can help lower your ejaculatory reflex. To begin with, practise visualising “control”, confidence, calmness and deep breathing during sex. Then integrate these images into your masturbation. Avoid visualising “negatives”, because your imagination will take you to the place you don’t want to go! For example, “don’t think of an orange” and you know what happens! “Don’t think of ejaculating quickly...” and you’ll create the tension in your body that does just what you don’t want to happen. With practise, your visualisation can create a range of arousal levels to match the stage of your intimacy e.g. “low” during foreplay and “high” during climax. At advanced levels, this mind control can help you become a master of sexual arousal. Refractory period – The refractory period is the period of “down” time (or recovery) between each ejaculation. It varies greatly between men, ranging from minutes to hours and even days. After the first ejaculation, some men experience less sensitivity during the second erection. This reduced arousal can be used to your advantage by learning about the average time of your refractory period. If the period is quick, you can then masturbate before sex (or early in your foreplay) to release your first hyper-aroused premature ejaculation. This ensures that your second erection will have longer intercourse. Learn about the length of your refractory period during your masturbation.

Practical methods involving partners

Having practised these techniques on your own with masturbation, you can then apply these self-help methods during sex with your partner. When you introduce a new technique into an activity, expect some level of distraction as the new technique falls into place. The important thing is to be patient. There are numerous other methods that can help your premature ejaculation. Vary the length of your foreplay by trying longer (or shorter) periods of time. Change the focus of your foreplay with less (or more) time stimulating the penis. Massage can be a good way of facilitating relaxation in overly tense muscles and naturally reduce the stress levels in the recipient. Having trained yourself to be more aware of your arousal levels, you can also aim to penetrate with lower levels of arousal at the start of intercourse. Maintaining this moderate arousal during sex can be achieved using the following techniques: • Practise slower motions at the start of intercourse and increase speed of rhythm when you want to ejaculate. • Withdraw at intervals to ease the sensation, re-penetrating to increase arousal. • Use circular motions to reduce stimulation rather than deep thrusting motions. • Vary your position. The missionary position (man on top) requires the most muscular tension particularly around the core muscles (abdomen) because you are supporting your whole body weight. This can increase your premature ejaculation. Positions with less postural tension include ‘side-to-side’ and ‘doggy-style’. • You can also have sex with your partner on top of you to reduce your muscular tension. Plus, if you are unable to embrace any of these techniques and your partner is sensitive to your arousal levels, they can also vary the pace and rhythm to help control your premature ejaculation.

Relationship therapy

Stress and anxiety from unresolved conflicts in your relationship can leak into activities in the bedroom. It can affect both partners in different ways, but your premature ejaculation could be a symptom of problems in your relationship. How well are you communicating in general? Can you talk about your sexual needs in a non-judgemental way? It wouldn’t be surprising to learn that when there are problems with your intimacy, it is reflected in the relationship (and vice versa). When left open-ended for too long, the subject-matter can become too delicate to discuss. Men are generally less talkative about these issues, not wanting to admit that there is a problem until it is at catastrophic levels. This is where outside help in the form of relationship therapy can resolve “what isn’t being communicated” and find resolutions that can put you both back on track. The relationship therapy can deal with issues both inside and outside of your intimacy. Sometimes, because of the lack of communication between partners, your premature ejaculation can be attributed to assumptions about the needs of your partner. For example, you may be trying so hard to please your partner in bed, that your “pressure to please” is creating your stress. But maybe your partner is already content and would prefer you to relax more during sex, but his hasn’t been communicated effectively. Or maybe your partner’s slight disappointment with the premature ejaculation is being viewed as a complete failure on your part, making the situation more anxious for you. Actually, in their disappointment, they are reflecting what you are feeling. They are genuinely very keen to help you and are willing to try any methods to put it right.  

Premature Ejaculation Cardiff: Treating your premature ejaculation with hypnotherapy

When your premature ejaculation is anxiety or stress-related, hypnotherapy can be an effective way to treat your condition. Various hypnotherapy techniques can be used to enhance your practise methods and treat the underlying causes. This can ensure a more rapid change than if you were dealing with these techniques on your own. How can hypnotherapy help you? Identify and treat the cause of your premature ejaculation – When negative habits are ruling your life, it can seem like there is no alternative but to continue on your negative path. Your mind stores the emotion from negative past events to warn you about the “danger” of it happening again. But the stress of that past trauma is creating excessive tension and self-limiting beliefs. These past traumas are destroying your confidence. Hypnotherapy can help you identify the causal event and release the emotion, allowing you to access new positive learning states. Break the cycle of expectation – Expectation has a habit of creating your reality. You fear having premature ejaculation and the anticipation builds the anxiety into the condition. Hypnotherapy can serve as a useful method to break these disruptive negative thoughts and replace them with more positive constructive thinking patterns. Relax your ejaculatory response – When you have premature ejaculation, the communication between your unconscious mind and your sexual organs has become “over-excited” with the slightest arousal. In hypnosis, suggestions can be used to calm the ejaculatory response, diminishing the rapid nerve impulses that are provoking your premature ejaculation. Reduce physical tension – Physical tension is a key feature of our premature ejaculation. If you are having problems benefitting from the breathing techniques, hypnotherapy can boost your relaxation response. Relaxation training can then be given in hypnosis to enhance your learning experience.
Premature ejaculation treatment Cardiff
Treat your premature ejaculation with Hypnotherapy
Visualise a controlled arousal – Having an intense visualisation of the experience you want during your intimacy will focus your mind and body towards this reality. In a relaxed hypnotic state, conscious interference will be minimised so that you can embrace the imagery as a “real” experience of controlled arousal. Using self-hypnosis, you can then integrate this template into your intimacy. Build your self-confidence and self-esteem – Long term premature ejaculation can damage your self-confidence and your self-esteem. It can cause you to avoid intimate relationships for fear of the issue happening again. In a deeply relaxed state, your unconscious mind will readily accept suggestions to boost your self-confidence and self-esteem. Your past confident triggers can also be anchored with your intimacy helping you to develop a stronger belief in your ability. Encourage effective communication in your relationship – The best people to deal with your premature ejaculation is you and your partner. But there can be many reasons that your communication is inhibited. When these inhibitions are identified and treated, it can help you (and your partner) deals with the relevant issues more confidently.  

For further information on treating your premature ejaculation in Cardiff, contact Richard J D’Souza Hypnotherapy Cardiff


Treat Your Flying Phobia

Treat Your Flying Phobia

If you are seeking ways to treat your flying phobia, it will require a complete reassessment of some essential issues: how you perceive flying in a plane, the management of your own anxiety and the underlying beliefs that are influencing your reaction. Having a ‘fear of flying’ recognises that when you fly, you suffer with high anxiety. The phobic flyer however avoids flying completely and is extremely distressed when they go anywhere near a plane. They may even suffer anxiety when friend or family member takes a flight. This is the major distinguishing factor between a fear and a phobia: when you have a fear, you somehow manage to get through, whereas when you have a phobia, you keep away!
Six stages to treat your flying phobia
Treat your flying phobia with these six stages
Since you have a flying phobia, let’s consider that for some time, you have abandoned the idea of flying in a plane. You are a master of avoidance strategies, but you are desperate to change this situation and treat your flying phobia. What are the first few steps that will initiate a change? Here are six stages that will help you face your flying phobia so that you can view it as a more manageable task. Be prepared for some deep self-analysis and a strong determination to acquire your coping skills. It may even require some outside help, but we’ll come onto that later. These ‘treat your flying phobia tips’ draw from my years of experience as a clinical hypnotherapist helping patients overcome their flying phobias in Cardiff with hypnotherapy.  

Treat your flying phobia Cardiff #1: Identify your primary belief

Very few flying phobias begin as flying phobias. Flying just happened to fall into the progressive development of an unresolved external fear e.g. a fear of confined spaces. Over time more anxious situations are engulfed by the original fear until any situation can unpredictably set off your panic attack. In your heightened state of alertness, you ultimately ‘panic about panic’, responding to your own internal danger ‘signs’, until no situation appears safe. When you can identify your primary belief however, you are in a better position to confront what is driving your flying phobia. You can then focus on dealing with the primary issue and ignore the minor ones that are fooling your heightened state of alertness. Identifying your primary belief can be achieved with self-hypnosis. Take your time with this visualisation: Imagine a time-line of all your past experiences and as a viewer looking in from the outside, consider all the situations when you first panicked. You may not have realised at the time that it was a panic attack, because you were trying desperately to cope with the situation. You were probably young and felt very distressed. Your mind will have “sited” the situation although you may not have become conscious of it. But it will be there waiting to be identified. Then consider any situations in your past that you made an effort to avoid. With avoidance tendencies, you recognise that there is something uneasy about going into this situation; you just haven’t identified the primary issue behind it. Identifying your primary belief can take you one step closer to being able to treat your flying phobia. If you are struggling with his visualisation, learn some breathing techniques to help you relax and help you use more of your imagination. You can also use this list of fears associated with a fear of flying to help you analyse what lies behind your flying phobia.  

Treat your flying phobia Cardiff #2: Manage your anticipatory anxiety

Dealing with the anxious event whilst it is happening is one thing. Coping with what is ‘churning’ in your mind before the event takes place is the focus of this ‘treat your flying phobia’ tip.
Treat your flying phobia’s fight or flight
Treat your flying phobia by managing your anticipatory anxiety
Anticipatory anxiety is the worrying that precedes your exposure to a future fearful event. It could be fear of a panic attack or an imagined “catastrophe” when flying. It is ‘real’ anxiety that exists in your mind because common sense tells you that “the flight is not happening right now”, but your emotional history is creating symptoms as if you were experiencing it right now! In an attempt to warn you of this danger, your “fight or flight” stress response ‘kicks in’ and generates more anxiety symptoms. Unfortunately, this extra alertness is adding to your distress because these are the symptoms you are desperately trying to avoid. Externally, nothing is happening yet, but you are causing your own false alarm! Your mind is locked in a circle of “what if’s” that could go wrong in the forthcoming flight (but rarely ever does go wrong in that situation). The continuous red alert created by anticipatory anxiety can disrupt your life in many ways including your concentration, your moods and your sleeping patterns. Hyperventilation, palpitations and IBS are commonly experienced on a daily basis. Even when you are doing something routine, the fearful outcome rises up into your awareness and prepares you for the imminent danger, even though it could actually be weeks away. The irony with anticipatory anxiety is that your worry works against you. Your mind is waking you to the place that it is desperately trying to avoid (usually having a panic attack). Don’t think of an orange, and what happens? You think of an orange! If you associate anxiety with an orange, thinking of an orange will generate your anxiety symptoms. If what you historically associate with flying are imagined catastrophic events and/or panic attacks, then when you think about flying, up surges your anxiety symptoms as a warning of these past/future threats. Anticipatory anxiety plays its part in almost all anxiety-related conditions and situations. When you can recognise anticipatory anxiety’s deceptive nature of avoidance, you are in a better position to release your ‘false alarms’ and deal with the situation in hand (i.e. control your emotions when flying). Here are some ways to manage your anticipatory anxiety when you want to treat your flying phobia: • Separate the present from the past/future Anticipatory anxiety “locks” you into perceiving the build up to the anxious event and the actual fearful situation as one traumatic process. It’s as if you are on a conveyor belt about to be tipped into the fire and the only way to survive it is to avoid it completely. Using this analogy, step off the conveyor belt and break free from the build up (the anticipatory phase). Only then can you consider what you are actually required to do to cope with the situation when it happens. In many cases, you are required to do very little in your phobic situation, as is the case when you fly in a plane. Control your stress symptoms and let the journey take care of itself. • Recognise that being anxious now doesn’t mean it’s going to get worse It’s easy to think that if you are suffering anxiety now and the flight is a month away, your anxiety will only get worse as the flight draws nearer! But this is anticipatory anxiety fooling your mind again. The majority of anxiety is created leading up to and immediately before the phobic situation. In the phobic situation a very different set of resources are required. Consider the situation where your primary fear is of confined spaces. You will have high anticipatory anxiety just before boarding the plane and prior to take-off. But once the plane has taken off, the anticipatory phase has passed. You are now coping with your confined space and can benefit from the exposure to it. If you fear turbulence, you may run a series of anxiety attacks throughout the flight. This is because you will panic when you experience turbulence. You then switch back to anticipatory anxiety, placing yourself on standby waiting for the next sudden movement of the plane. When you focus your coping skills on dealing with turbulence alone, only then can you become more proficient at overcoming it. • Anticipatory anxiety “feelings” can overshadow a successful outcome You already know that previous traumas can keep you on the high alert when facing similar situations again in the future. But what do you take away from the event when the outcome has ended favourably? When the plane has successfully landed at its destination (or you removed the spider from the bathroom), does it mean that you no longer have a phobia? This “light bulb” moment of change can instantly happen in some situations and with some people. This is because the success of the event has altered your deeper beliefs and emotions related to your phobia. But when the success (or the absence of the imagined catastrophe) fails to register with you, it can be because you are measuring the success using your anxiety feelings. It’s as if “you felt anxious at some point, so it must have gone wrong. Better stay on the alert next time just in case!” Inevitably, you stay locked in the anxiety cycle the next time you challenge your phobic situation. Part of the positive re-learning process is to have some anxious feelings, but this doesn’t mean it has failed. Even positive change can create “butterflies”, so expect a degree of anxiety. When you can focus on the success of the outcome, the anticipatory anxiety will no longer keep you locked in anxiety. • Anticipatory anxiety is such a waste of your precious energy You can now identify that anticipatory anxiety is creating a false alarm and fooling you into believing that the worst possible outcome is going to materialise. But the number of times that the imagined catastrophe has actually happened is probably rare (compared to the times that the imagined catastrophe didn’t happen). Until you can appreciate that all of this emotional preparation is unproductive and is a waste of your effort and energy, you’ll continue to stay on the alert, waiting for your past history to repeat itself. What can you do about this? It takes courage to stare anxiety in the face and ignore your anticipatory anxiety warning signals that just serve to distress you. Only then can you focus your effort on how to cope in the situation that is triggering your anxiety when it actually happens. That’s where the positive emotional benefits will be returned to you. Is keeping busy going to help to you manage the anticipatory anxiety? It can, but you have probably found that when you are doing something routine, the anxiety pops up into your awareness. So it’s not the total solution. It’s ironic that in many cases, you are required to do very little in that situation that is triggering your anxiety. When you are sat on the plane, you can use some techniques to control your anxiety and find some activities that help pass the time; and that’s just about it! For those who rely heavily on distraction as a solution, this is where your mind is compromised. Yes, it helps when you can actively engage in activities, but when they are ‘low intensity’ activities, anxiety will worm its way into your consciousness and overwhelm you. So ‘meet’ with your anticipatory anxiety and let it pass through your mind, right out of the other side! You don’t have to battle with it; your energy is too precious!  

Treat your flying phobia Cardiff # 3: Commit to desensitising your phobia

This ‘treat your flying phobia tip’ assumes that you have identified your primary belief related to your flying phobia. Let’s say that your flying phobia has grown out of a fear of confined spaces. You can now begin to approach moderately anxious situations that are confined but without the same intensity as flying (e.g. lifts or other modes of public transport) and re-learn how to desensitise your response. This is classic systematic desensitisation, and provided you are committed to the re-learning process, you can gradually re-build your confidence in progressive stages. Methods of desensitisation involve creating an anxiety scale from one to ten. Ten on the scale would be a highly anxious situation (flying); one would be a calm situation. On the scale involving confined spaces, identify all of the dynamics that increase the anxiety rating. This can include, the level of commitment, size of the confined space, number of people present (social anxiety), the relationship of the people present (are you more confident when you know them?) etc. The aim is to start low, engaging in various situations and progressively moving up the scale as you relax or get used to these situations. Then challenge the next situation further up on your anxiety scale, until you are ready to cope with flying.
Desensitise anxiety to treat your flying phobia
Stay in the anxious situation until your anxiety diminishes
The process also involves setting up an internal anxiety scale. Ten on the scale is feeling panicky; one is feeling relaxed. When you enter a chosen situation, assess your anxiety level e.g. going into a confined space triggers your anxiety at feeling level of six. Aim to stay in the situation until your anxiety level goes down even slightly so that you feel more relaxed than when you arrived. As long as the situation doesn’t change (i.e. there are no new perceived threats), your anxiety will peak, stabilise and then decrease. The act of staying in the situation until your anxiety level lowers helps you to benefit from exposure to your perceived threat. By repeating this process, you will overcome your fear of the situation over time. However, leaving the situation at the height of your panic state increases your phobic response. A “quick getaway” reinforces your mistaken “claustrophobic solution”; that the quicker you can run away, the calmer you will feel. So wait for the anxiety to diminish and learn some relaxation techniques to facilitate this change. So with your commitment to overcoming progressively anxious situations, the top of the anxiety scale (flying) won’t seem like a huge mountain to climb in one go. You will develop confidence and self-belief en route. The emphasis on “commitment” is also an important requisite. This is because when you commit to a realistic goal, it helps your mind to decisively focus on the method required to achieve the goal. This is in contrast to the effect of anticipatory anxiety (see above) that causes your mind to hesitate and avoid confronting the situation. You’ll keep dithering until you can’t run away any longer, which will generate more anticipatory anxiety. Committing to a realistic goal has with it some notable amounts of stress, but the commitment helps you to step away from the procrastination stage and move into the “how to do it” stage. This is helpful in the process of change and for the beneficial exposure to your fear when you want to treat you flying phobia.  

Treat your flying phobia Cardiff #4: Manage your panic response

Treat your flying phobia panic response
Treat your panic to overcome your phobia
This “treat your flying phobia tip” considers your reaction only. What do all phobias have in common? Regardless of whether your phobia is related to an object, situation or internal fear, you will panic or fear that you will panic. Your panic has become your conditioned response. You believe that by confronting your situation (and/or panicking), it will traumatise you further. When left on autopilot, a panic attack will “lock” onto whatever you believe to be the cause. If you can’t identify the cause then, over time and left untreated, it is likely to generate a social phobia and agoraphobia, spontaneously erupting at random. With a flying phobia, you associate your panic with flying. But the plane, the crew, the journey (or any other part) is not “causing” your panic. It is caused by a series of internal negative programmes now conditioned to keep you on the alert until you can change it. Objects and situations outside of you are harder to “control”. Some situations like flying require you to be a “passive passenger”, allowing what’s around you to take place as a series of compulsory events. You can’t just tell the pilot to pull over for five minutes to give you a break! So part of your reprogramming is about turning this focus away from what’s going on “on the outside”, and giving attention to what’s happening “on the inside!” When you can switch this focus of attention, you will be devoting so much more of your energy and resources onto internal events i.e. the source of your panic. Not an easy task, but is essential to fully take control of what is yours. The control-centre for changing your panic is in your mind, not the object or situation. Trust that the external situation will take care of itself. You may not consider this next activity to be helpful, but persist with it. Momentarily close your eyes as if to meditate so that you can remove some of the visual cues likely to distract you from focusing on the inside. This places your mind into the arena where to can manage your panic. Now imagine closing your eyes on a journey in which you would feel moderately anxious. Does it cause you to feel tense? If it does, then consider practising this in situations in which you consider them to be moderately anxious e.g. when travelling on a bus. It will be a useful resource in your preparation for flying because you are learning to access your internal solutions, rather than being distracted by external false triggers. So having switched your attention to the “inside”, what does your panic present to you? Fearful beliefs can vary from thinking that you are going to die, to being embarrassed in front of your peer group, or thinking that you are losing control that will eventually cause you to breakdown. This is part of your anticipatory anxiety (see treat your flying phobia tip #2). You continue to escalate your response by triggering more fearful beliefs, hyperventilating in your attempt to cope, but this makes your condition worse. The tension in the abdomen or chest is a common feature of panic attacks. By learning how to breathe to reduce your panic, you can alter the course of your physical symptoms. Do use the link to master your breathing techniques because when you are breathing slowly, deeply and abdominally, your physical tension can be lowered. With less physical tension, it diminishes your internal red alert (see treat your flying phobia tip #3) and the conviction of your fearful beliefs.  

Treat your flying phobia Cardiff # 5: Visualise the experience that you WANT

Use visualisation to treat your flying phobia
Visualise the experience that you want
This treat you flying phobia tip focuses on mental rehearsal. Strong visualisations can serve as mental preparation for your desired future experiences. In other words, when you practise imagining a calm flight, your mind will construct a template of you being on a plane, feeling relaxed. Over time, your repetitive positive visualisation can transform your images into your actual experience. So, work on visualising the experience that you WANT. But I can appreciate that when your default position has a flying phobia in the background, the negative impact of your phobia will initially block your attempts to visualise the ‘other side’. Having a flying phobia means that without actively trying to imagine a relaxed flight, there’s ‘the projection room is empty!’ This will need some serious reprogramming! So how do you learn to visualise? The breathing techniques help you to bring your mind down into a relaxed state where you can access chosen thoughts and images. When you are relaxed, it’s easier to be the “director” in your mind, rather than being directed by past traumas. After your breathing techniques, develop a script of your imagined positive experience during your flight. If this seems difficult to create right now, borrow a “script” from a different relaxing experience and transfer the detail into the flying situation. Next, “colour” the script with your relaxed feelings and emotions, making the details as vivid as possible. You could even use somebody else’s experience for your own script if it is easier to construct. Use whatever can be translated easily into your own positive flight scenario. Once the script is written, begin imagining this scene as a situation that has already happened, as this acts to consolidate the belief about your future reality (I know that it literally sounds back to front, but this is the whole idea – in your mind you want to visualise that you’ve already done it!) Re-draught the script as you become more experienced, intensifying the emotions with each practise. It is a gradual process however, so don’t lose faith if the feelings and images don’t seem real enough at this stage. You are learning to create this state of mind; it won’t be mastered in one attempt. Is it easy to get distracted when visualising? Yes, it’s easy for the mind to wander with all the obligations and responsibilities in your life. This is quite normal, but is common when novices also learn to meditate. Being aware that you have gone off your positive flight path is the trigger to placing your mind back onto it again. Keep practising. How long should visualisation take? After the breathing techniques, the positive visualisation can take about ten minutes a day. Expect a more believable visualisation after a few weeks of daily practise. As an actor would learn their script, the frequency helps the process become automatic. Repetition is important with this ‘treat your flying phobia tip’. What is crucial through this process is recognising that your script is helping you access what you “want”, rather than what you “don’t want”. Imagined experiences of you relaxed, coping with your flying experience is the experience you desire. Ask someone to check your script for positivity if it helps you progress with this.  

Treat your flying phobia Cardiff # 6: Be prepared to avoid avoidance

Most people can relate to this ‘treat your flying phobia tip’ only too well. When a situation triggers your anxiety, the common reaction is to avoid the situation again to stop you feeling more anxiety. This is the natural stress response that protects you from a perceived threat. Over time, if you are required to deal with that situation, your confidence is diminished and you doubt your ability to cope. Anticipatory anxiety (see treat your flying phobia tip #2) rules your mind and “offers” you short-term, secure alternatives to your anxious feeling. It convinces you into believing that if you can avoid that situation now, then you will feel better. Avoidance becomes a tempting safe option. But anticipatory anxiety doesn’t help you to see the long-term implications; it just deals with what is immediately up ahead. With you having a flying phobia, you will know only too well how destructive avoidance can be. It is has been a major contributor to the development of your flying phobia. You are aware that by foolishly “dodging it” over time, you will become reliant on that option as a way of coping. Avoidance stifles your progress and it becomes part of a vicious cycle of anxiety; you take short term fixes to feel better now. But it also creates long term problems that take more effort to undo. So what can you do about this once a conditioned response (your flying phobia) has set in? The answer is to label this anxiety cycle for what it is and begin challenging your thinking and your behaviour. Firstly, recognise and admit how avoidance has fooled your mind into the creation of a condition that has rarely actually “done” this to you, but continues to put you on a huge standby, exhausting you with excessive anticipatory anxiety when you so much as think about that situation. Secondly, find a positive anchor in your memories when you overcame adversity. Have you ever been afraid of something and avoided it only to respond with a hardened determination to keep going until you overcame it? If you’re struggling to find something within your memories, then do you know someone else who has done this? Borrow their example and use it as an anchor and building block for change.
Plan ahead to treat your flying phobia
Now’s the time to focus on your flying phobia goal
Thirdly, be honest about your personal avoidance behaviour. What do you keep doing that is safe to justify “not” dealing with your goal? Do you procrastinate by watching television or making a snack? “It’s time to tidy the sock drawer again!” is a good example when avoidance is controlling your mind. Help yourself by listing those trivial tasks that interfere with your goal so that you can “catch” yourself running away from it. With busy lives, the mind can easily prioritise according to what feels the nicest first, sometimes referred to as the path of least resistance. When this procrastinating “strategy” is employed to lead your life, those anxious yet important tasks are going to mount up! Fourthly, plan a realistic goal that relates to your flying phobia (see treat your flying phobia tip #1 and #3) that has only moderate anxiety e.g. aim to overcome confined spaces, until you can relax when using lifts. Be sure to expect some anxiety through this process of change. But this is part of the natural “undoing” development. Exposure to that situation helps you to learn how to manage your anxiety. Once there is momentum, your confidence and skill-resources will grow because you are now “dealing” with anxiety rather than “worrying” about it. In addition to this, the exposure will help you eventually get used to your anxiety, rather than being fearful of it. Your anxiety is something to overcome, rather than run away from. It takes courage to want to challenge something that is a deep-rooted part of human nature. So with the confined spaces scenario, grade your experiences (see treat your flying phobia tip #3) and commit to gradually challenge your confined spaces scale on a weekly basis. Use the breathing techniques to manage your anxiety.  

Treat your flying phobia Cardiff: Summary

So these are the early developmental strategies that can help you treat your flying phobia. It can seem a long road back when a response has become conditioned, but with persistence and determination, you can make a u-turn and steadily work towards your flight goal. Of course, if you are struggling with any of these stages when attempting to treat your flying phobia, then hypnotherapy can offer you that booster with any part of your programme.

For further information on how to treat your flying phobia in Cardiff, contact Richard J D’Souza Hypnotherapy Cardiff


Fear of Flying

Fear of Flying

Fear of flying Cardiff: Definition

A fear of flying is also known as a flying phobia (aerophobia, aviophobia, aviophobia and pteromerhanophobia). It is a fairly common and irrational fear characterised by an intense dread experienced during some part of your flight.  

Fear of flying Cardiff: How it impacts on your life

Fear of flying: panic attack
Fear of flying: panic attacks on a plane can dent your self-confidence
A fear of flying often includes some anticipatory anxiety; moderate anxiety symptoms can accumulate weeks before the day of the flight. If you are committed to your flight, the continued anxiety can disrupt your sleep patterns, concentration and attention levels. Should you fly without help, the anxiety attack on the plane can be embarrassing and humiliating; your self-confidence and self-esteem can be severely dented. You then have to recover to participate in your onward journey (e.g. a work meeting) and then contemplate another trauma with your return flight. When armed with only your fear, the severity of your condition worsens with each new flight. As the new experiences accumulate, the anxiety symptoms can attach to other new fears stifling your general lifestyle. ‘Not’ flying can still impact on your life too. Most fears and phobias involve some degree of avoidance behaviour. It is a common way of coping (albeit unsuccessfully) with your fearful condition. You may be the fearful flyer who readily admits that you have a fear of flying and will do all you can to prevent your own traumatic experience. But some of you are too embarrassed or ashamed to admit your condition however. You pretend that it doesn’t exist and find ways to ‘dodge’ flying with irrational excuses, often to the dismay of people (family) around you. But avoidance can have its long term consequences. A fear a flying can impact on your professional career as well. If you can delegate to your subordinate staff and justify it as “part of their development”, it can delay you having to ever deal with the inevitable. But avoidance just makes the fear worse in your mind. When you are required to meet clients abroad and can’t avoid it, the recurring unexplainable last minute “illness” can cost you your job. A fear of flying can also affect your personal life. It prevents you from regularly seeing wider family or friends in another country. It can spoil your own family life, depriving members of your family of a summer holiday abroad. Long-term consequences can also be transferred to other people. Children can “learn” beliefs from authority figures like their parents. As a parent, your biased reactions may end up “teaching” your children your fears without realising it. To counter any feeling of guilt, you may try to avoid flying with them to prevent them “catching” a fear of flying from you.  

Fear of flying Cardiff: What causes a fear of flying?

Fears and phobias can have a genetic cause. This means that you have a predisposition to be anxious. You are more likely to develop irrational fears because it “runs in the family”. With a genetic cause, fears and phobias are thus considered as psychological states “waiting to happen”. It can take a relatively moderate psychological trauma to set up your fear of flying. Outside of genetics, you may have learnt your fear of flying through directly associated experiences. This means that you were previously involved in a “terrifying” flight (or flights) and now connect your fear response (also known as your survival instinct or ‘fight of flight!’ response) with flying in a plane. The mere thought of flying again in the future triggers a release of adrenaline to ward you away from more danger. Being in a situation where you are “forced” to fly can create an anxiety attack. These situations only serve to escalate your fear of flying. Vicarious learning is the term used to describe when you learn anxiety through the experiences of others. As mentioned above, as a young child, you will have “modelled” some of your beliefs and behaviour on your authority figures, usually your parents. Seeing them panic convinces you that “if they are scared of it, then it must be dangerous!” Other significant people such as wider family and friends can also transfer this fear. Teenage hood is a notable period when you live through the experiences of your friends. Although you can learn your fear of flying through significant people, other sources can also be important. Witnessing a traumatic event or seeing strangers having a panic attack “in the flesh” is enough to initiate your fear of that situation. Even seeing something in the media or being told about a traumatic event can “sow seeds” of fearful beliefs. Some of you can relate to how easy it is to be “drawn in” to a real account of something e.g. a documentary, as if you are living the experience when it is being televised. Some fears are unconsciously learnt and can appear to be triggered spontaneously. This is because you haven’t identified the “cause”. Consider a situation when, as sufferer of moderate claustrophobia, you have to sit in the back seat of a two door car. You are anxious throughout the journey. Half way through the journey, the driver makes a sharp swerve away from a potential collision. Understandably, all the passengers are distressed having just avoided a nasty accident. Your anxiety response is more acute because during those few moments of extreme motion, your “escape” was blocked by the front passengers of the two door car. You don’t know it yet, but you have now unconsciously “fused” claustrophobia and extreme motion with a panic attack. The next time you fly, you go through moderate anxiety again because you have claustrophobia. Suddenly, you experience some turbulence and you start to panic. You haven’t consciously made the connection with the car incident yet. There is more turbulence and you continue to suffer more panic attacks. You are anxious and confused because these panic attacks seem to be happening spontaneously. Sometime after the flight, you discuss your panic attacks with a trusted friend. Then it clicks! You realise the association between the car journey, your panic attacks and the turbulence. Your fear of flying is now “actualised”. Turbulence is another trigger for your panic. You are afraid to fly again, in case turbulence causes you the distress of panic attacks.  

Fear of flying Cardiff: Fears related to a fear of flying

In the above example of unconscious learning, the fear of flying has been caused by other indirect situations. This is the case with most of my hypnotherapy patients. These indirect fears have accumulated and “leaked” into flying over time. But this is a common development of unresolved fears – they “trap” more objects and situations until you become housebound (agoraphobic). If you are unable to identify what other situations lie behind your fear of flying, your panic will continue to be spontaneous and uncontrollable. So what other fears and situations can contribute to a fear of flying? The list below contains situations, fears and personality traits that are directly and indirectly related to a fear of flying. • Fear of Turbulence – Turbulence is a common occurrence and is usually caused by changes in air flow. It can make the plane shake, shudder and bump. You interpret these motion changes as a warning that the plane has lost control. Even though the seat belt signs are shown to protect passengers from the effects of extreme turbulence, you believe it is a warning that you are in extreme danger. • Fear of Engine noises – Changes in engine noises are generated when ascending and descending. Mechanical changes are also made in-flight to deal with turbulence. Since you are already in a heightened state of alert, you are sensitive to any new sudden sounds. Flight noises cause you to “jump” and frantically look around for reassurance that you are safe. • Fear of adverse weather conditions – You may have experienced a previous incident (outside of flying) in which the weather caused a catastrophe. You are now predisposed to believe that unfavourable weather conditions will disable the plane midflight. You constantly “weather watch”, checking weather reports in an effort to control your emotions. • Fear of a plane crash – You may have survived a trauma or know someone else who’s plane had crashed. This has set up an anticipation of a repeat experience. You battle with media coverage of new plane crashes in attempt to “exorcise” your demons, but they only serve to re-traumatise you. • Fear of heights – Your fear of heights can accompany a fear of falling. Your visual field is distorted (creating vertigo) when you can look down from a high place without any physical protection (barrier). The plane gives you this, but you are still uneasy. An aisle seat is a must to help control your anxiety, but this is not enough to ease your imagination from running wild. Ironically, something keeps tempting you to have a quick look outside. • Fear of confined spaces
Fear of flying aisle
Fear of flying: Even the aisle can feel claustrophobic
You suffer with claustrophobia and panic when you are unable to leave a situation. Unfortunately, your reflex “solution” – to make a dash for it is withdrawn from you when in a plane. The moment the doors close, you hyperventilate. It’s as if there is no air on board the plane. This leaves you with “unspent” physical tension causing your legs to shake uncontrollably. • Fear of vomiting (emetophobia) or illness – You fear being sick yourself or have a fear of people around you vomiting. This is made worse being in a confined space and having limited opportunity to leave the situation. Fear of being ill whilst abroad (or your fellow travellers being ill) can be a separate fear or one associated a fear of vomiting. Once the plane takes off, it symbolises that you are far away from your home comforts to treat your illness or your family to help take care of you. • You have a toilet phobia – This condition covers a number of situations including: - A fear that you may not get to the toilet in time (bowel or bladder problems). - When you get to the toilet you are unable to ‘go’ (IBS constipation or bladder shy) for fear of people listening. This means other passengers would have to wait a long time. - Because of IBS diarrhoea you fear that you may “mess up” the toilet and would be overwhelmed with embarrassment. The noise and smell can compound your embarrassment in some situations. - Or that you have an OCD-related hygiene issue and are unable to use public toilets for fear of contamination. During your flight, it is common procedure that you remain seated during take-off/landing; using the toilet is prohibited in case of turbulence. There are also limited confined toilets on-board the plane and you may have to queue to use the toilet during busy times. Not being free to go to the toilet when you want causes you anxiety and makes your symptoms worse. • Fear of losing control – In the past, you may have been called a “control freak!” In the way you define “control”, being in a situation where you cannot ‘command’ your surroundings creates anxiety for you. Showing anxiety to your fellow passengers would be embarrassing. You perceive a display of anxiety to be “losing control”. • Fear of trusting people – You are required to place trust in the flight crew to ensure your journey is in safe hands, but you struggle to have faith in people that you cannot see. Instead, you disregard their expertise until you have interacted with them in some way. You remain anxious until you have made this connection. • Fear of fear – You struggle to deal with anticipatory anxiety. Any event that has a series of scheduled events (good or bad), creates anxiety for you. Your anxiety then immobilises you, preventing you from constructively taking active steps to reduce your worry. You procrastinate and “hide” because thinking about the flight/trip causes you some discomfort. You resort to any “unhelpful” distractions until the “last hour” and then panic on the day. You seek quick-fixes and lean heavily on your support network. This adds to their frustration because they have offered their help weeks ago; you just weren’t ready to hear/accept it from them. Each layer of fear triggers another layer of fear, and it just keeps going round and round. • Fear of panic attacks – You are unable to identify the cause of your panic attacks. When they surface, they inflict “terror” in you. You believe panic attacks to be a sign that something far worse is going to happen to you. You feel like you are constantly on “stand-by”. • You have social anxiety – Being amongst strangers generates a moderate amount of anxiety. Your condition means that you fear doing anything that draws attention to yourself or that might cause you embarrassment. You choose an aisle seat because asking someone to move (should you want to say go to the toilet) requires courage. So you may just wait until the passenger next to you leaves their seat or you wait until the journey has ended to go to the toilet. • Fear of falling over – You are unsteady on your feet. Although your feet are on “solid ground”, the motion and thought of being up in the air create vertigo. Your anxiety exacerbates your symptoms, so you may stay pinned to your seat to reduce the fear that you will fall over and hurt yourself. • Fear of falling - Your fear of falling is connected to a fear of heights. In a plane your fear is not as intense as being next to a high cliff edge without a barrier. But being up in the air in any vehicle is enough to cause you moderate anxiety. This is because you believe that something could damage the plane and you will be ejected from your seat into the air at altitude. You wear your seat belt tight throughout your journey. • Fear of flying over water – You believe that when the plane flies over water, you are a few hours away from emergency services. If the plane runs into any trouble, then it will be required to ditch onto the sea. You may be a non-swimmer and you have visions of struggling in cold stormy seas. • Fear of flying at night – You book “day” flights where possible. Without being able to “see” your danger, you remain apprehensive throughout your flight. You constantly seek reassurance from the flight staff. Looking out of the window when you are flying over the sea at night is pointless and creates more worry. • Fear of hijacking – The prospect of the plane being hijacked is very remote with stringent security procedures in place. But the media presentation of a previous hijacking and the horrific accounts from any hostages can traumatise the public into believing that there could be loopholes in the security. You see your fellow passengers as potential threats. • Fear of bombing – As with a fear of hijacking, this is another fear in which you believe the security checks will somehow overlook. You sit through the whole journey petrified that you are sitting above the ill-fated cargo. You believe your fellow passengers may have an exploding device. • Fear of attack – Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, renewed insecurity about the extent to which terrorists will inflict their might has become more uncertain. You travel in fear of a surprise attack from an unknown source. • Fear of security checks – Even though you have nothing to “hide”, you find the security checks intrusive because you fear attention. The “baggage” you carry in your mind triggers a past feeling of guilt that surfaces during tense procedures like going through customs. You are waiting to be accused of something, even though you have done nothing wrong. • Fear of boredom – You have an obsession to keep busy because when you are bored, you worry. Nobody wants a delayed flight, but “hanging around” brings out your obsessive-compulsive tendencies. The fear of being idle is a threat to your equilibrium on those long haul flights. • Fear of the unknown
Fear of flying: fear of the unknown
Fear of flying: Fear of the unknown can make flying a terrifying experience
You prefer to stick with what you already know. With a new experience, your mind can fill the void with what you “have known” in the past even if it is negative. So for the new fliers with a tendency to feel anxious, a potential “exciting curiosity” is filled with dread. Even for the seasoned flier, a new destination or new work obligation can build adrenaline through the flight. Over time a fear of flying is attached to going to a strange place, meeting new people or dealing with a new situation. • Fear that you are leaving your family – You have suffered a previous bereavement when you or the deceased was away from home. The physical distance meant that you struggled to bring closure to your grief. When you or a member of the family travels, the fear of a repeat scenario is created. The plane taking-off symbolises that you may not see them again. • Fear of death – You associate dying with your internal anxiety symptoms. When your heart races, you think you are having a heart attack. So any external situation that causes you anxiety (like flying) soon becomes inextricably linked to your fear of death. Or you fear a painful death and desperately try to control how you may die. You imagine that a plane crash will involve extensive suffering before your demise. As you can see, the list of potential causes of a fear of flying (both direct and indirect) is quite extensive. When you can identify what lies behind your fear of flying, you can then seek more effective ways to cope with and treat your primary issues.  

Fear of flying Cardiff: Do you have a fear of flying?

For the frequent flyer, your travelling arrangements are being dealt with on a regular basis and so you are accustomed to dealing with the various travelling procedures. When you fly occasionally however, moderate levels of anxiety can develop around the day of the flight because these events are not in part of your regular routine. The infrequent events can include: Planning your journey and keeping to the schedule on the day of the flight – Have you packed everything you need...Will you arrive on time for your flight etc? Planning your forward trip – Whether it’s a business or leisure trip, do you know where you are going...Have you prepared for the business meeting ahead etc? Ensuring everything you leave behind is secure and being managed – In work, have you delegated any ongoing projects...Will someone at home deal with any family arrangements etc? You can expect some disruption to your life dealing with the above. But a fear of flying is far more severe than this. So what qualifies as a fear of flying? Firstly, rather than viewing the typical events listed above as a series of manageable small tasks, they all become overwhelming. In addition to this, you have significant levels of anticipatory anxiety that disrupts your lifestyle weeks before your flight. • Sleep patterns are disrupted – You struggle to get to sleep and find that you wake frequently thinking about some aspect of the flight. The cumulative effect of this is tiredness and loss of concentration. You then oversleep and feel tired through the day. • Your mind is pre-occupied – You obsess over your fear, worrying about what could go wrong on the day of the flight. • Your attention is affected – Your mind is “detached”, daydreaming about your fears. Your concentration is distracted by the anxiety of your flight. • Ritualistic habits increase – Any “comforting” habits become more compulsive. Drinking, smoking, nail-biting, hair-twirling etc. whatever habits you have to ease your anxiety increases in frequency and duration. • You procrastinate – Since the flight has fear attached to it, you desperately avoid any tasks related to your trip. Instead of proactively dealing with your journey, you opt for pleasant but non-urgent trivial tasks to ease your discomfort: “Time to tidy the sock drawer!” • You seek avoidance strategies – If it’s time to book the flights, you try to delay the booking because your “diary looks very busy” around the time of the flight. • Anxiety symptoms get worse – Your anxiety symptoms (see below) escalate the closer you get to your flight date. You have a fear of flying if near the time of the flight or during the flight you suffer with one or more of the following anxiety or stress symptoms at an intense level: • Feel nauseous and faintBreathing is laboured and rapid (hyperventilation) • Mouth is dry and speech is stammered • Suffer with IBS and irritable bladderBlush and sweat excessively • Heart beat is forceful and rapid • Find is hard to concentrate and memory is reducedMuscles feel tense, shake uncontrollably or fidget • Become claustrophobic with the need to move (pace) around • Feel self-conscious as if everyone is staring at you • Increase any comforting habits e.g. nail biting • Suffer with anxiety attacks or panic attacks There are numerous other stress and anxiety symptoms. These listed represent some of the more common ones.  

Fear of flying Cardiff: Treating your fear of flying

There are numerous ways to help treat your fear of flying: • Medication – Your doctor can prescribe medication to help with your anxiety symptoms. They are likely to vary according to the severity of your anxiety and the duration of your flight. There may be some side effects. • Counselling/CBT – These approaches seek to change your negative thoughts and behaviour into more positive ones. Some courses of treatment can be extensive. • Self-help – Reading books and website articles or simply facing your fears can help you to get through challenging situations. Your own subjective beliefs can prejudice your learning however. In addition to this, further negative experiences can reinforce your fear of flying. • Flying courses – These include a group talk followed by an actual flight. If you are the type of person who believes that “when I have done it once, then I’m cured”, then this approach could be helpful to you. The group situation may not get to the heart of any personal issues that you have. If anxious people around you tend to trigger your anxiety then you could be more vulnerable in a group situation like this.  

How can hypnotherapy treat you Fear of flying in Cardiff?

Hypnotherapy is an effective and rapid way of treating your fear of flying in a number of ways: • Control your anxiety – Controlling your anxiety is an essential part of managing your fear of flying. When you are in an anxious state, your perceptions are distorted. You are more likely to interpret events as anxious one. If you suffer anticipatory anxiety then this can affect you days or weeks before your actual flight. Anticipatory anxiety heightens your anxious expectations, taking you to the emotional experience that you are trying to avoid. Self-hypnosis techniques will also help reduce your anxiety symptoms (see above) before and during your flight. Self-hypnosis techniques are far more effective than simple distraction methods, because you are actively dealing with the issue that is central to your fear of flying: the ability to relax during your flight. • Identify and treat unconscious causes of your fear of flying – Without correctly identifying and treating the primary causes behind your fear of flying, the fear remains. You will continue to frantically put energy and effort into the wrong “box”, not understanding why you are in still in fear. This is where the expertise of a professional hypnotherapist can make the difference between dealing with the right issues that removes your fear and “hoping for the best.” • Reframe your past traumas – Unresolved past traumas are stored in your mind to warn you against experiencing yet another trauma. So when your strongest anxious symptom is triggered e.g. by turbulence, anxiety surges up into your consciousness and adrenaline floods your body. The anxious emotion acts like a magnet, pulling your attention into it rather than being able to deal with the situation at hand. Hypnotherapy can help you reframe your past traumas, safely releasing the emotion from the negative event. You can then freely and resourcefully create the emotional experience that you want during your flight. • Release your panic response – Extreme fears and phobias have something in common; there is a panic response associated with the object or situation. When your anxiety trigger has been identified, hypnotherapy can help you dissociate your panic attack from this stimulus. Turbulence becomes just “another event” rather than a cause for your anxiety symptoms. A new relaxation response can then be learned and developed.
Overcome fear of flying with hypnotherapy Cardiff
You can overcome your fear of flying with hypnotherapy Cardiff

Fear of flying Cardiff: Summary

For the majority of the population, flying is a natural way of travelling to your destination. It is common method of travel when going on holiday or as part of work obligations. It can be a natural part of your lifestyle too. Choose Hypnotherapy Cardiff to treat your fear of flying and get ready to book your next flight. Flying to your next destination is just a few steps away!

For further information on treating your fear of flying in Cardiff, contact Richard J D’Souza Hypnotherapy Cardiff


Public Speaking Tips

Public speaking Tips

When you are worrying about a giving a presentation, public speaking tips can offer your mind a release from your anxiety. Public speaking tips can help you to focus on a “process” rather than being consumed by your own self-limiting doubts. They can also help you to portray confidence that you can embrace as your experience grows. Over time your public speaking courage will become a natural part of you, but it takes determination and a desire to succeed; this change rarely happens overnight.
Public speaking tips
Public speaking tips can help you focus on a process
These public speaking tips are written using my experience as a qualified teacher/trainer. They also draw from my experience as a Senior Clinical hypnotherapist for Hypnotherapy Cardiff. Use these public speaking tips to guide you if you have never given a presentation before. Alternatively, you may find one of these public speaking tips helps your preparation in your next presentation. Presentations can take various forms. These public speaking tips are aimed at the typical educational setting where you are given a title and required to present information within a set time limit. This information you present could be personal, factual or emotional. The information generally serves to inform the audience or help shape their opinion about making an informed choice in the present or the future.  

Public speaking tips #1: Research your topic

Researching what you are going to talk about is not one of the most exciting public speaking tips to begin with, but it is an important one. Your presentation could be a disaster if you (or your personality) don’t fall into the following categories: • You ooze self-confidence and love being the centre of attention. It doesn’t matter what you speak about, you just relish the opportunity to be on stage. Even if you messed up, you wouldn’t notice because you possess a hardened exterior called arrogance. • You have developed and mastered your presentation character/role. This allows you to think on your feet and you seamlessly move from one topic to another. You could wax lyrical about anything • You are an expert in your field and can talk for hours because you are qualified and knowledgeable. • All of the above! If you are new to public speaking, given time you can become one or all of the above. In the meantime, research your subject until it you have enough content to play with.  

Public speaking tips #2: Keep your presentation relevant to your aim

What’s that, you don’t have an aim? Then how will you know what is relevant? Ok, so this is a bit of a chicken and egg situation. This really does depend on whether you have been given a presentation with strict criteria to follow or an open-ended title in which you are required to make the decision for yourself. If you have been given the criteria to follow, keep reminding yourself of the meaning behind the criteria. Keep using this in every stage of the process because there’s nothing worse than talking about something that is a million miles away from the title. It is also important to identify any marking structure. The higher the marks allocated to a topic, the more likely you are to devote your time to these topics. If the title is open-ended e.g. Pop music, then give your presentation a direction (your aim) such as “number one hits by (a certain) pop group”. You simply can’t cover every fact in a short presentation. Give a statement of your aim at the beginning with possible subheadings. These can include a few ground rules e.g. asking questions at the end rather than throughout the presentation. You may even give a statement of what you “won’t” present because of certain limitations e.g. time. Factors that can influence your aim include: • Temporal factors: Such as the time you have to prepare (and take into account other obligation), the duration of the presentation or your other obligations that might intrude on this project. • Situational factors: This can include the availability of resources e.g. microphone and lectern, the layout of the room and the size of your audience. • Personal factors: Such as your subject-knowledge, confidence, voice projection, use of non-verbal gestures etc. The more you know about these factors, the more you can shape the precise intentions of your aim.  

Public speaking tips #3: Identify an objective for your audience

Some of these public speaking tips clearly overlap. This one has direct links with public speaking tips #2. Your aim is what you intend to do in your presentation. Your objective considers what your audience will be able to do by the end of your presentation. If your presentation is about your formal one-sided communication of information (i.e. only you speaking), then your objective may simply be about your audience hearing/understanding you and being informed about some facts. One important question to keep asking yourself is “How do I know that they..?” in this case “...can hear me/understand me?” The answer to this might depend on what kind of feedback is available? Are they looking puzzled throughout? Are they laughing at your jokes? What type of questions do they ask at the end? Are you being graded (formal feedback)? The feedback could be immediate or post presentation. An objective is made clearer when it can be expressed in behavioural terms. “Understanding” is not a behavioural objective because the audience may not have been required to do anything to understand. They can just sit there and passively listen.
Public speaking tips: know your audience
Public speaking tips: Know your audience
The feedback may not be known until sometime after the presentation. This is where the objective might be sales-based e.g. gaining 10 sales of your product or service within a month. Or maybe your presentation is influencing your audience to make a decision e.g. vote about a policy you are advocating in the next election. In a didactic situation e.g. teaching or training, the process can include an assessment of the behavioural outcome e.g. the audience needs to write an essay on the content of your presentation. Depending on the value of the essays (feedback), you then evaluate the whole process and make adjustments to your presentation or lesson.  

Public speaking tips #4: Give your presentation a beginning, middle and end

Structuring your content is essential for clarity. Without statements of intent (or limitation), the presentation can appear vague and disjointed. The audience have no concept of your direction or won’t know their involvement in the process. The first stage in public speaking tips #4 is the introduction. This can include some of the following points where they are relevant: • A welcome - Stating who you are, qualifications and experience, situation (“I have been asked to give a presentation by the...”) • State your aim – See public speaking tips #2. “The aim of this presentation is ...” • State any limitations affecting your presentation – Stating what you will not be presenting helps the audience recognise the emphasis you are giving to your presentation. • State any methods you are using: Are you discussing or describing your content? Are you using any visual aids that help your audience anticipate their involvement? This can be an extension of the aim “The aim of the presentation is to compare styles of pop music between two decades. I will be playing some pop music from those decades to demonstrate my analysis.” • State any objective for the audience: See public speaking tips #3. “I would like you to listen to the various styles of music. Please give a vote at the end of your preferred choice.” The next stage in public speaking tips #4 is the middle section. This consists of the main points of the presentation. The main points need to be organised, logical and relevant to the aim. Ideally, your points will be enhanced with additional information and/or visual aids (pictures or diagrams). Following the example used of the pop music presentation, pictures of the pop bands and audible aids (music or video) would complement the presentation and help make it more captivating. Include linking statements sometimes called “signposts” that help the presentation to coherently flow from one point to another. They act as bridging statements and can be used to build rapport with your audience. Signpost statements can: • Summarise what you have just done - “Now that I have discussed...” • Emphasise what you are going to do - “The next section of my presentation will...” • Clarify the importance of a point by linking it back to the aim – “You will notice the statement made by...” Signposts can be created by changing the pitch of your voice e.g. starting a new point with a raised tone of voice. Signposts can also be non-verbal but still serve to navigate the audience through your presentation. They can include moving from one part of the room to another, creating a short pause, switching equipment on or off and glancing at another part of the audience. The last stage of public speaking tips #4 is the end section, sometimes called the conclusion. The end section can make the following points: • Re-emphasise your aim and objective – “In the presentation, I have aimed to... you can now...” • Summarise your main points “I hoped to have been able to show that...” • Mention any closing remarks – For example, thank the audience, inform them of what is happening next, tell them about any exit procedures or a “call to action” regarding further information “Please help yourself to the information booklets..." or “contact me for further help...” • An opportunity for the audience to ask questions – Where appropriate, leave time for questions about any topics presented. Remember that it is better to admit that you don’t know something and be prepared to research the answer for them, than to bluff the way through with a vague answer.  

Public speaking tips #5: Learn how to breathe to control your anxiety

Knowledge and experience can build self-confidence. Along your presentation journey, some useful breathing techniques can help release your anxiety: • In anticipation of a presentation – Use breathing techniques to help you relax when your presentation anxieties “appear” in your mind. Worries have a habit of popping into your mind whilst doing other routine activities. • During the presentation – Breathing techniques can calm your nerves throughout the presentation. Think of it as a useful “vent” when tension builds up. • After the presentation – It can seem like a relief that you would rather not replay in your mind, but “putting the presentation away” can help you build confidence for the next presentation. Use breathing techniques and visualisation to process what you have done well with a feeling of achievement. Then “over trace” the parts that didn’t go so well, imagining your return, tackling any errors that you made. This process can affect how and where you “store” the presentation in your mind. Better to learn from it, than to run away from it! A common problem associated with anxiety is the development of psychosomatic symptoms. These can include shortness of breath, palpitations, blushing, profuse sweating, dryness and constriction in the throat, involuntary tremors in the hand, tendency to stammer, IBS etc. The anxiety sufferer then worries that these symptoms are visible to the audience and desperately tries to conceal them. They are more preoccupied with their psychosomatic symptoms than with the task in hand. Breathing can act as the anxiety diffuser that alleviates the symptoms, allowing you to focus on your presentation. Learn how to breathe now! Learning to breathe outside of any external distraction is essential to being able to control your anxiety. You can then begin to use these breathing techniques in progressively more stressful situations. Thus developing breathing techniques is part of your preparation. Actually, it’s part of how you manage your lifestyle! The use of breathing techniques can be considered a self-hypnosis. This is explained below in public speaking tips #6.  

Public speaking tips #6: Rehearse and visualise your presentation

Here’s a quick summary of where you should be: • Once you have written the content of your presentation, check that it matches your assessment criteria. • Amend any content so that it is relevant to the aims and objectives. • Organise the layout so that it has a distinct beginning, middle and end. • Adjust the content so that it fits into any time constraints. With most of the boxes being ticked, you can now practise (rehearse) your presentation. Some people like to start with a script and condense it down to a few key points. This will involve familiarising some of the content so that keywords can be placed on a hand-sized card/bullet points in PowerPoint. This “condensing” process can help you to recall some of the material from the notes yet still maintain the planned structure (since it’s easy to lose your place!) The condensing stage is important because it stops you “reading from a script” with your head and eyes in your notes throughout the whole presentation.
Public speaking tips: Visualise your presentation
Public speaking tips: Visualise your presentation going well
Now that you are familiar with the content, visualise giving a confident presentation. That’s right, close your eyes for a moment, take a deep breath and imagine being in the situation with everything going well. So, imagine all that you would talk about, feel and see in your audience. Thinking positively means just that! Many people “think” they are thinking positively, when all they are doing is taking their mind to the place that they don’t want to go! Most “positive” thinking in default mode ends up reinforcing the negatives, or it involves anxious worrying about a situation. The process of positive visualisation (thinking) involves giving your mind something to focus on. You can work towards this image by converting your internal (anxiety) symptoms and what is happening around you into positive outcomes. When you are anxious what happens? • Breathing is rapid and short – visualise giving your presentation breathing slowly and deeply and at regular intervals. • Voice becomes quiet and throat feels constricted – visualise speaking with a loud multi-tonal voice and the throat feeling relaxed. • Legs feel like jelly and hands shake – visualise your legs feeling strong and hands feeling relaxed. And so on... Then visualise converting some of your “external” anxieties: • The audience look bored – visualise the audience looking interested and stimulated by your content and use of voice control. Imagine them being on your side! • You fear losing your place – visualise using a prompt card that helps you to move seamlessly from one point to another. • You fear some technology not working – visualise keeping calm and apologising for the “technical issue”. Explain what your audience would have seen as a contingency plan. Visualisation and rehearsals can be done in front of a mirror. You may even wish to practise using a video camera or a trustworthy audience (e.g. your family). With each rehearsal you will build up a positive template and expectation for how you will present on the actual day. This has the effect of lowering your anticipatory anxiety and helps you to feel like the presentation is a natural part of what you do.  

Final public speaking tips

Some of these public speaking tips are summarised in the previous points. Other public speaking tips you will acquire with experience as your confidence grows: • Use memory prompts – A well-rehearsed presentation will flow smoothly. Learn your material until a keyword prompts a sentence or paragraph about that topic. Effective use of PowerPoint or visual aids can also help this process but are secondary to the dialogue you use through your presentation. If you are quoting some complex dialogue, ensure you glance up at the audience at regular intervals. • Project your voice – Develop a “presentation voice” that is loud, multi-tonal, and moderately paced with effective pauses. Recording and listening to your own voice can help you develop your “presentation voice” Your pitch can be maximised when you involve your diaphragm muscles. Imagine speaking to someone in the room next door! That doesn’t mean shouting, but the focus of your voice should be in your abdomen rather than straining your vocal chords. Varying the tone in your voice can help stimulate interest in your audience. Learn to raise and lower the tone of your voice to emphasise and de-emphasise certain parts of your presentation. Vary the pace of your dialogue. If you are anxious, you are likely to speak quickly, so the general advice is to slow down. Momentary pauses can generate a feeling of confidence. Coordinate your relaxed breathing with your voice projection. • Develop a stage presence – This is something that grows with your experience and your confidence. It includes certain points already mentioned such as the content of your presentation and the way you have organised it. It also includes non-verbal aspects of communication such as: Eye contact – Your eye contact can be used to give each person a feeling of importance. Staring at one person in particular can feel intimidating, so pan across your audience slowly in a gentle rotation, as if you want to acknowledge each person present. It’s easy to give too much importance to people in the middle of the audience, so try not to ignore people in the corners of the room. Posture – How you stand/sit can set the tone of your presentation. Standing tall behind a lectern (when there is one available) can be appropriate for a more formal presentation. It gives you somewhere to place your notes whilst still facing the audience. Where the situation is didactic, some people prefer to stand without a “barrier”. Sometimes, sitting on a table can emphasise the informality of the situation. Your movement around the stage can also create a feeling of confidence. Some “purposeful” steps can help counter the tendency to stand rigid when feeling anxious. Facial expressions – A (genuine) smile can indicate that you are comfortable and enjoying what you do. The audience will feed off your body language, helping to put them at ease.
Public speaking tips hand gestures
Public speaking tips: Use some hand gestures to communicate
Hand gestures – Hand gestures can help you to appear animated and interesting. Use a few gestures (but not too many) to emphasise any visual aids. Some psychologists believe that “open hand” gestures can communicate that you are open and honest. Some animation can be better than remaining completely still. Seeing a video of you speaking can be a good way of developing stage presence in the long term. A video can also help identify and reduce any communication “annoyances” e.g. excessive use of hand gestures. Organise your stage – How you arrange the stage and seating (where appropriate) will create a formal or informal atmosphere. As you grow in confidence, organise the stage in the way that helps your communication. Can any visual aids be seen by your audience? You won’t always be able to choose the layout in every venue but it helps to have a concept when you can arrange the stage yourself. • Break down any barriers with your audience – Finding out something about your audience can help you to tailor your presentation to their needs. What is their prior knowledge or learning about this subject? Do they all work for the same organisation? Has the advert targeted a specific need? This information can help you to build rapport with your audience with references to their “group” that they might find interesting. Barriers can also be broken down by speaking to individual members of your audience before and after the presentation. Any feedback that is returned can help you to develop your presentation in the long term. If your presentation is aimed at your peer group as part of an assessment, then find something refreshing to add to the presentation even if it’s some light humour (but keep it to the presentation aim). Hearing numerous presentations on the same topic can be repetitive. Involving members of the audience can be a good way of keeping their interest and keeping the presentation informal. Think of your audience as being on your side; this will ease your anxiety. Surprisingly, they want you to succeed. Giving them a welcome can help put them at ease. • Have some contingency plans – Plan for things to go well, first and foremost. But keep a few back-up plans with solutions in case something goes wrong. A technology failure is rare, but can happen. You can only then do your best to make amends. Apologise for this and then if it means you rely on written notes, then use them! It’s amazing how “character building” situations like this can be. You can’t cover every eventuality, but when left to think on your feet, it serves to... • Believe in yourself – Confidence comes with achievement. If you have never given a presentation, then transfer the feeling of confidence from any other successes you have had in your life. Rehearse the affirmation “I can do this!” as part of your preparation.   Public speaking is a continuous journey of learning. Give your presentation, then assess and review your performance. Make changes and try something new when the perceived risk is low. That way, if it goes wrong, it won’t be the end of the world! Public speaking tips can help give you feedback and freshen your strategies. Public speaking tips can remind you that different approaches are required for different situations.   More information: Fear of public speaking: Causes and treatment Fear of public speaking and social anxiety  

For further information on public speaking tips and treating your fear of public speaking in Cardiff, contact Hypnotherapy Cardiff


Fear of public speaking and social anxiety

Fear of public speaking and social anxiety

For many people, a fear of public speaking ranks as one of the most common dreaded fears. If you are an extrovert and love attention, then you are more likely to take these presenting matters into your stride. But for the shy introverted speaker, life can be very, very different. Hearing “don’t worry, it’ll be fine...” is meant with good intentions, but it can seem so patronizing.

Fear of public speaking male
Fear of public speaking can be traumatising

A fear of public speaking (glossophobia) is a form of social anxiety. You can have a fear of public speaking yet still be comfortable displaying physical skills in public or meeting new people. But if these situations also cause you to feel nervous, then your social anxiety is considered to be more acute. When you suffer severe social anxiety, public speaking can cause you to panic and can be the source of major distress. In work, during those meetings of great importance, it can cost you your job. More importantly, if you have social anxiety and general anxiety, it can be a source of depression.


Fear of public speaking: The socially anxious experience

Does this seem familiar to you?

The racing heart beat; the familiar “knot” in your stomach and the nausea are just the start of the affairs when you are told that you have to speak in public. It’s rarely something that you volunteer to do. Who wants to be publicly shamed and disgraced in front of your wider family, peer group or colleagues? The agony has started long before the presentation date, yet there is this impending doom that beats as each day draws closer. Your sleep is restless.

The socially anxious speaker hates being the focus of attention. If you could guarantee that your presentation will impress your audience then it might not seem so bad. But to be in the spotlight when you are struggling to be coherent is degrading. The harder you try to mask your symptoms the more “visible” you become! There is nowhere to hide from your fear of public speaking.

Can you avoid giving your presentation? When you look back on your life, I’m sure you would have done all you could to skive those early childhood school presentations. You tried to feign a tummy ache (which was probably anxiety) in the hope that it would convince your parents that you needed a day off school. But even moving through the educational system, a presentation would have been demanded as part of an assessment somewhere. And when they gave out the subject titles, you had to pick the “dull” subject that you knew nothing about and would send everyone to sleep. You did the best you could to make it interesting, but the “yawns” of boredom is what you learnt about the experience. The seeds of fear and humiliation have been sown!

So in work, you’ve disguised your fear. You’ve delegated the presentation to a subordinate member of staff because “it’s good for their development!” But those small business meetings demand that you to give a short introduction of yourself; you can’t pass the buck in this situation. This is enough to get you flustered and put your professional reputation on the line. And when you’re tenth around the business table, the time moves so slowly. You don’t even remember a word of what is being said by the other delegates. You are deafened by your own internal voice of worry. 

Even socially, you cannot escape the personal request from a loving family member to “say a few words” during their moment of pride. At weddings or formal occasions, there’s nothing like being expected to say a few “stammered” mutterings to ruin your day for you and lose your social esteem.


Why is the fear of public speaking such a problem?

Unfortunately with performance anxiety, when you are stressed and place too much importance on using a certain part of you, it’s that part that can “lock” and become dysfunctional. So the tennis player’s shoulder tightens, the pianist’s fingers become stiff and the singer’s voice becomes strained. It’s as if that precious part of you is fired with excessive nerve impulses and is out of control at the worst possible moment.

For the socially anxious public speaker, anxiety “grips” the ability to speak. The diaphragm muscle tightens making it hard to breathe. This causes your words to become stammered, misplaced and forgotten. Your throat can become dry and constricted. Your voice can become overly quiet or sound choked. In short, it’s an effort to get your words out.

But it’s not just the voice that is overwhelmed. The mind can be affected too. It can distort your awareness of time. The things you want to end quickly, take forever.  Waiting for everyone else to finish their presentation (so that you can start yours), can take an eternity. You then build up more anticipatory anxiety. But when you are giving your own presentation, your brakes have failed. It’s as if you are chasing a prize for the fastest presentation. In your confusion, you abandon your bullet points for a “speed-read” of your notes. Your eyes and head drop down into your script in desperate hope that if you can’t see them, they won’t be able to see you.

Stress can also affect memory and concentration to the level that you lose your purpose. You become forgetful, disorganised and distracted. Other phrases for the latter can include being “spaced out”, distant or self-absorbed. This can happen at any moment of the proceedings. Some get overwhelmed immediately before or during the presentation. But even after the presentation, the trauma keeps you in a daze for...days!

Another important issue for the socially anxious speaker is prejudging the audience as experts. You believe that they can see through your inferiority. You are convinced that they know more than you about your subject and you are about to be exposed as a fraud.

Fear of public speaking female graduate
Fear of public speaking: you think your anxiety symptoms are visible

If the presentation involves questions and answers, this will be the key moment of public humiliation. You believe you will be asked intellectually challenging questions that you don’t even understand! Never mind being able to remember the answers, the question is so complicated, that you remain petrified as if they’ve sent you an electric shock. So you stall for a repeated question because you have developed temporary hearing loss!

Not only do you believe that the audience know more than you, but you imagine that they have X-ray vision. They can see every symptom of your anxiety: the blushing, the excessive perspiration and the hand tremors. These are somehow caught on camera with a powerful zoom lens and are being broadcasted on a screen behind you. Even the internal anxiety symptoms e.g. heart racing, nervous diarrhoea and “jelly like legs” can be seen and judged as out of control.

Your fear of public speaking is contained in a higher negative belief that anxiety is a sign of weakness. This only serves to make matters worse for you. It prevents you from gradually working through your fear because you (wrongly) equate anxiety with incompetence. It’s a non-starter and you don’t feel very well!


Compounding your fear of public speaking with anticipation

The anticipation of something can be more traumatic than the stress of the actual event. When the notice has been given of the presentation, anxiety can weigh you down, causing you to procrastinate, cling to unhelpful comforts (food, alcohol, cigarettes etc.), lose sleep and generally become forgetful and distracted. Your heightened state of anxiety draws you deeper into fearing the worst on presentation day. The stress symptoms can then peak immediately before the presentation.

Contingency plans to proactively deal with what might go wrong are left open-ended as a vulnerable fear, rather than something that you can act on and make the situation feel safe. Stress levels can be so high that the moments before and during the presentation can seem like going through the motions on auto-pilot. Unless your presentation is recorded, there is very little recall of your experience.

Even after the presentation, the distracted emotional state makes you immune to absorbing any positive feedback. Regardless of whether it has gone well, your self assessment is still biased since you based your measure of success on the feelings of anxiety. You were anxious, so you must have failed. The presentation has traumatised you yet again and is something you must avoid if given the opportunity.


Fear of public speaking can be overcome
You can overcome your fear of public speaking

Breaking the fear of public speaking

Does this seem like part of your routine? For the socially anxious person, this is probably déjà-vu. But it doesn’t have to remain that way. The best way to deal with your fear of public speaking is to confront it, armed with some helpful techniques. You can tackle your fear of public speaking in small progressive steps. This will help you to focus on it as a series of skills that can be learned, rather than seeing it as a cycle of events that submissively drags you through a bush full of thorns.

Hypnotherapy can be used to control your anxiety, re-frame past traumas and visualise your confidence. My expertise as a qualified teacher/trainer will also help to ensure that you are using effective techniques that get the best out of you in your preparation and on the day of your presentation.

Looking for some more self help tips? Overcome your fear of public speaking with a series of public speaking tips.

Fear of public speaking: causes and treatment


For further information on treating your fear of public speaking in Cardiff, contact Hypnotherapy Cardiff


Fear of Public Speaking

Fear of Public Speaking

Fear of public speaking Cardiff: Definition

A fear of public speaking can be defined as a feeling of anxiety (prior to and during) any form of verbal communication given to an audience. It can also be termed as speech anxiety, presentation nerves, stage fright and glossophobia. Fear of public speaking is a form of social anxiety.  

Fear of public speaking Cardiff: Formal and Informal settings

A fear of public speaking can affect many situations both formal and informal. Most people can recognise the formal settings when you have given a talk using prepared material in school, college or your workplace. Other formal situations can include giving speeches at weddings, funerals and association meetings. A fear of public speaking in informal settings may not have previously prepared material but can have “rehearsed” content e.g. telling a joke to your peer group. Some speakers who rely heavily on scripted material can feel anxious because you are required to speak “unscripted” about you e.g. when introducing yourself at the start of a business meeting. Anxiety can also be experienced in seminars when “speaking from the heart” about a very personal issue, fearful that sensitive issues may be judged by other delegates. Stage performers can exhibit confidence as the “expert” singing or playing your instrument but you can also suffer some stage fright during specific aspects of your show. “Chatting” to the audience can seem daunting because you are making an informal connection with your audience. You don’t have your music or instrument to hide behind. For those with chronic social anxiety, the fear of drawing attention to you is enough to create a panic attack. So even giving an account of your holiday to a few members of staff in the staffroom and then finding the staffroom going quiet because everyone is “tuning in” can be traumatic. For the confident speaker, it can be difficult to appreciate what someone with chronic social anxiety suffers when when they have a fear of public speaking.  

Fear of public speaking Cardiff: Causes

With figures suggesting that a fear of public speaking is the most common fear in the world, it justifies the belief that very few people are “born” public speakers. If you are one of the minority that enjoys giving presentations, you are probably extrovert, are knowledgeable in your field of expertise and/or you have found a way of altering the perception of your fear. Any mild anxiety that you have experienced in your journey has been overcome with effective practise and by learning the necessary presentation skills. So why are some people more prone to a fear of public speaking than others? One or more of these issues could contribute to your fear.
• Personality types or traits
Anxiety - Those with general anxiety and social anxiety are more likely to have a fear of public speaking. You tend to worry and see the negative side of situations, believing that things will ultimately go wrong! You rarely get past your “what if...” scenarios. You struggle to cope with anticipatory anxiety, increasing your stress symptoms (muscular tension, loss of sleep, IBS etc.) as the presentation draws near. You then focus on these symptoms, believing them to be visible to your audience. This distracts you from giving your presentation. After the event, you deny any praise because your anxiety overwhelms your interpretation of the presentation. Perfectionism – You set excessively high standards in your presentation expecting everything to go flawlessly. You exhaust yourself trying to reach these standards and may neglect other obligations (and relationships) en route. You rarely delegate because you cannot trust the standards of another person. Any mistakes in your presentation are harshly criticised (mainly by you), causing you to double your effort next time. You then become more anxious about your ability to keep achieving perfection in the future. You are aware of how much effort the presentation took out of you in this attempt. You fail to accept external praise on your methods because the (often unobtainable) goal is all that matters. Lack of self-confidence – You distrust your own judgements and doubt your ability to achieve your goals. You tend to set low targets because you are risk aversive. You keep well inside your comfort zone because you have a fear of failure. This justifies avoiding the presentation in the first place. You are easily swayed by the opinions of others as you approach the presentation date. Rather than learning from your mistakes made during the presentation, you try to hide them because you are ashamed of them. You worry about the criticism of others but ironically, you are too embarrassed to accept their praise. Even if you did give a good presentation, you shrug-off the praise, claiming it was the work of others. Inevitably a lack of self-confidence can affect all that you do. You believe that you lack confidence in your presentation subject-matter. So rather than talking freely in your presentation, you worry that others know more than you. You believe that they will pick holes in your presentation and your lack of knowledge. Low self-esteem – Since you believe that you are not good enough, this perspective is projected into all that you think, do and say. Your presentation preparation is plagued by self-doubts; you are unsure whether the content is good enough. Your low self esteem may be directed onto parts of your body (low body esteem). Standing in front of an audience means that this part of you is in full view. It only serves to heighten your embarrassment. If you feel inferior about your voice, your anxiety will “strangle” any attempts to project it adequately. Fear of embarrassment – A fear of embarrassment belongs to the domain of social anxiety. The fear of humiliating yourself in front of your audience is your overriding worry. Your anxiety symptoms take over and become “visible” to your audience during the presentation. Amongst many symptoms, your hands shake, you become more forgetful and you “lose” your voice.
Fear of attention is a cause of fear of public speaking
You can feel self conscious with a fear of public speaking.
Fear of attention – Another issue that is part of social anxiety. You fear drawing attention to yourself or being stared at by others. You worry what people think or what they might say. Standing on a “stage” has few hiding places; a tall lectern might do the trick, but just being there causes you to feel self-conscious. As a coping method, you avoid looking at your audience. Ironically, they will stare at you more because they feel excluded. Your emotions are compromised because if your audience looked outside the window during your presentation, you would think that they are disinterested or bored. Fear of rejection – A person who fears rejection is likely to have self-esteem issues and social anxiety. Your deep need for acceptance puts you in the centre of any situation. You perceive that, if an outcome is favourable, then you are confirmed as good enough. But when the outcome is adverse, then you believe that you are unworthy. It is all “personal” because you have instilled this self-limiting belief. You dismiss the learning of any skills or the opportunity to grow through practise. You may have moments when you can “de-personalise” this rejection, but it ultimately slides back to you – the person. So in situations like presenting as part of an interview, you won’t take the risk because it exposes the fear that you may not be good enough; it exposes your fear of rejection.
• Previous bad experience
You learn from your experiences. But when an experience has been disastrous, your stress/anxiety responses become firmly attached to the incident. It re-surfaces when you anticipate tackling that same situation again. So when you’ve been ordered to give a presentation to cover an absent colleague at the last moment and know very little about the subject-matter, unsurprisingly the presentation goes wrong. If you are then fired on that unfortunate performance (harsh, I know!), this trauma causes anxiety to flood you when you need to give another presentation in the future. The bad experience has left its mark on you and set up your fear of public speaking! Not all learning is directly related to the situation. A fear of confined spaces e.g. lifts, can be attached to a fear of public speaking because indirectly, it is a situation that you cannot easily get away from when you feel anxious. You feel “stuck” on stage which indirectly reminds you of being in a lift.
• Inadequate preparation
Confidence grows with the knowledge of how to do something and successful practise. So when you are taught how to prepare and deliver a presentation, the belief that you can succeed will grow. When you are given your presentation title you are more likely to “do your homework” and prepare sufficiently to achieve the desired goal. However, when you are terrified of the outcome and have been left to do your own (ineffective) preparation, it is quite reasonable for anxiety to take over and avoidance to kick in. The person who then believes that you ought to be able to give a presentation “by now”, evades any methodical preparation. Panic sets in and nothing is prepared for the big day.
• You fear your audience
You give authority to the opinions of others. You believe that others have grounds to criticise either the content of your presentation or your credibility to be presenting it. So your mind is dominated by what they are thinking rather than what you can do in your presentation. You worry about the implications of saying something controversial or simply “messing up” and making a fool of yourself. You cram in too much information fearful that it appears incomplete. It is likely that you are trying to impress your audience and are overly-focused on their reactions. But you reject any potential positive feedback. You see a room full of people that are better than you, laughing at your comedy of errors! Since you doubt your own credibility (low self esteem), you are waiting for confirmation that you don’t deserve to be on the stage. You hesitate to “know your audience” in advance, because even if they are your peers or your subordinates, they have gone the extra length to research something that you know nothing about. You are ashamed to admit that you don’t know a topic in your presentation, so you try to bluff an answer. You are waiting to be exposed as a fraud. When you know that there is a genuine expert in the audience, your anxiety is overwhelming.  

Fear of public speaking Cardiff: Do you have a fear of public speaking?

Being apprehensive or nervous before and during a presentation is quite normal. If you give presentations on a regular basis, then it’s likely that you have overcome any acute anxiety symptoms. So what qualifies as a fear of public speaking? Firstly, you will have significant levels of anticipatory anxiety that dominate your life weeks before the presentation: • You are preoccupied with what you believe will go “wrong” on the presentation day. • You appear slightly detached, “daydreaming” about your worries. • Sleep is often disrupted and the quality of sleep can be restless. • You become more reliant on comforts e.g. food or alcohol. • Ritualistic habits dominate as you try to distract your mind from the anxiety. • You divert any practical attempts to work on the presentation by completing unimportant routine activities (procrastination). • You seek avoidance strategies to ease your anxiety e.g. delegate to a subordinate member of staff, postpone the date, feign illness etc. • Anxiety symptoms (see below) develop in moderate levels leading up to the presentation. You have a fear of public speaking if, close to the presentation day and throughout the presentation itself, you suffer with one or more of the following stress/anxiety symptoms at an acute level:
anxiety symptoms and a fear of public speaking
Anxiety symptoms can feature in your fear of public speaking
• Blushing • IBSPanic attacks affecting your pacing (tendency to rush) • Profuse sweating • Tachycardia (fast heartbeat) • Uncontrollable shaking • Stammering • Difficulty breathing (hyperventilating) • Dry mouth • Memory loss • Muscular tension particularly around the vocal cords affecting your speech. • Nausea • Feeling faint • Increased frequency of habits (fidgeting) • Feeling claustrophobic (confined to the stage)  

Treating your fear of public speaking

These are some common methods of treating your fear of public speaking and controlling the anxiety that inhibits you: • Self help methods - These involve gradually building up your confidence and skills giving presentations in “safe” situations. When starting, consider your ideal topic, audience and location where you can decide the conditions. In this chosen situation, making a mistake would be trivial. Think of it as a practise of a practise. For some of you it might literally start in front of the mirror. Public speaking tips can guide you through your early stages of learning. • Join a public speaking class – If your company is unable to give you training in public speaking, then you can learn the art from a public speaking trainer in a classroom setting. Public speaking skills are taught in groups and you will gradually build up to giving a presentation at the end of the course. If you are encouraged by other people going through the same experience as you, then a public speaking class could help your presentation skills. • Treat your anxiety through your GP – Anxiety can be debilitating. When anxiety affects your ability to communicate, then controlling it is essential for a fear of public speaking. Discuss with your GP how anxiety can be treated with medication. Depending on the severity of your anxiety, your GP may also be able to arrange counselling or CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy).  

How can hypnotherapy help you fear of public speaking?

Hypnotherapy can be an effective way of treating your fear of public speaking in a number of ways: • Control your anxiety – Hypnotherapy is a natural treatment. Once you have learnt relaxation techniques in the form of self-hypnosis, they can help you cope with your anticipatory anxiety. You can learn to utilise them during your presentation to reduce your anxiety symptoms listed above. When used strategically, they can also moderate the pace of your dialogue and assist with your voice projection. Hypnotherapy relaxation techniques can help you to appreciate how much your symptoms are part of an anxious cycle perpetuated by you own emotional state. By controlling your anxiety, you can develop your presentation skills without your mind being preoccupied with your symptoms. • Identify unconscious causes of your anxiety - The negative stored experiences in your mind can be indirectly associated to your presentations. These create spontaneous anxiety symptoms e.g. previously embarrassing yourself by falling over when you were in a crowd can be negatively stored as “crowds = anxiety and embarrassment”. You didn’t give a presentation in that past situation, but now you are anxious when giving a presentation because your mind is triggering the “crowds” link. When you are unable to identify why you are struggling with presentations, you will continue to create random anxiety symptoms until you can identify these causal events and releasing the negative emotion from then. Regression hypnotherapy can be used to facilitate this process. • Reframe direct past traumas – Past traumas caused when you have previously given presentations are the negative building blocks that pull your mind into your stressed awareness. Your mind stores these adverse experiences in an attempt to keep you safe from experiencing yet another trauma. Hypnotherapy techniques can be used to reframe the meaning of those traumas reducing your anxiety symptoms in your fear of public speaking.
Fear of public speaking and hypnotherapy
Hypnotherapy can help you overcome your fear of public speaking
• Visualise your peak performance – You have probably been told to “think positively” by many people. But when anxiety and a history of past traumas shape your awareness, it can be difficult to visualise what you want to achieve. In hypnosis, your mind can readily accept suggestions and positive imagery. This can help focus your mind towards your goal and give your mind an imagined experience of a presentation that has gone well. • Change negative beliefs about yourself and presentations – Some of the causes of your fear of public speaking (listed above) can be quite deep rooted and self-limiting. You may view some these causes as overwhelming “facts”. By analysing these negative beliefs, they can be treated so that your mind can be more receptive to accepting positive suggestions. When these changes are reinforced with practise of your presentation skills, it can accelerate your potential to speak in public.  

Fear of public speaking: summary

Overcoming your fear of public speaking doesn’t happen overnight. It requires a determined and courageous decision to want to develop skills in the face of anxiety. By finding a “safe” audience to practise with, your confidence can grow as you learn to master your skills. Be prepared to make mistakes and persevere. Train your mind to role-play any character that deflects the attention away from you. Hypnotherapy can assist your fear of public speaking on many levels. As a qualified and experienced teacher/trainer and clinical hypnotherapist, I can help you develop your presentation skills and reduce your anxiety associated with your fear of public speaking.  

For further information on treating your fear of public speaking in Cardiff and presentation anxiety in Cardiff, contact Richard J D’Souza Hypnotherapy Cardiff


Registered Hypnotherapist in Cardiff

Registered Hypnotherapist in Cardiff


Are you looking for a Registered Hypnotherapist in Cardiff?

Searching for a hypnotherapist in Cardiff can be a bit of a minefield. What factors are important? Is the hypnotherapist reputable and trustworthy? For how long have they been qualified? What will their treatment plan involve?

By choosing a registered hypnotherapist in Cardiff, you can be confident that you will be treated by a hypnotherapy practitioner who follows a strict professional code of conduct and ethics. This means that my principal aim is helping you accomplish what you want.


Registered Hypnotherapist in Cardiff: Achieve your goal

Registered Hypnotherapist in Cardiff
A Registered Hypnotherapist in Cardiff can help you achieve your goal

What is your therapeutic goal? You are undoubtedly seeking help to change some aspect of your thinking, your beliefs, your emotions or your behaviour. Hypnotherapy is a very popular treatment for stopping smoking, losing weight and treating phobias.

Hypnotherapy can also be effective at treating other common conditions that involve stress and anxiety. These include panic attacks, insomnia, habits, OCD and relationship issues.

When health issues are impacting on your lifestyle, it’s important to have them treated by a competent professional therapist.


Choose a registered hypnotherapist in Cardiff

Did you know that anyone can still call themselves a hypnotherapist? If you want to set up a hypnotherapy practice, you can read a few books, learn a few hypnotherapy scripts and armed with your confidence, you can promote your commercial title as a “hypnotherapist”.

Fortunately, over the last twenty years, various hypnotherapy associations like the General Hypnotherapy Register, The International Hypnotherapy Association and the Complementay and Natural Healthcare Council have helped hypnotherapy become a recognised profession. Hypnotherapy Associations have taken steps to regulate the standards of hypnotherapy training and qualification and to supervise professional hypnotherapy practise after qualification. You can be assured that when you are treated by a registered hypnotherapist in Cardiff, this therapist meets the required professional criteria to help you achieve your goal.

By choosing a registered hypnotherapist in Cardiff, you can trust that this hypnotherapist has passed a recognised qualification, continues to actively develop their knowledge and skills, and use professionally recognised techniques to help you achieve your goal.


Change your thinking...Change your life!


Richard J D’Souza: a senior registered hypnotherapist in Cardiff

When you are selecting a registered hypnotherapist in Cardiff, you may also want to establish other important criteria. By choosing a senior registered hypnotherapist, you can be confident that you will benefit from at least 15 years experience of successfully treating hundreds of patients and treating various conditions. This will ensure that your goal can be achieved using the most effective hypnotherapy techniques and any underlying relevant issues will be addressed in your treatment plan.


For further information on how hypnotherapy can help you, contact Richard J D’Souza, senior registered hypnotherapist for Hypnotherapy Cardiff.



Hypnotherapy Practitioner in Cardiff

Choosing a Hypnotherapy Practitioner in Cardiff

Choosing the right Hypnotherapy Practitioner in Cardiff can make a world of a difference to the outcome. If you’ve never had a hypnotherapy consultation before then use this guide to help you make a more informed choice. Even if your previous hypnotherapy course wasn’t a success, it doesn’t necessarily mean that hypnotherapy is not for you - it’s more about choosing the right Hypnotherapy Practitioner in Cardiff.  
Hypnotherapy Practitioner in Cardiff
Decide your goal before employing a Hypnotherapy Practitioner in Cardiff

What is your goal?

Before making contact with a hypnotherapist, consider what you want from your treatment. Read about your condition and speak to some people who can help you to understand the nature of your condition e.g. your GP. You are experiencing your condition on the inside (subjectively). Often, the sufferer mistakenly considers the symptom to be the cause of their condition. There may be an emotion that is directing your behaviour. Is your therapeutic goal realistic? Expecting a personality change from a hypnotherapy practitioner in Cardiff is unlikely to happen. But wanting to make a change in one part of your life is realistically achievable. Even if you can tick several of the boxes on the conditions list, identify your primary goal. Good questions to ask yourself include: When you have achieved your goal what will have changed? What can you do now that you have made this change? Your answer is likely to be related to your thoughts, feelings and behaviour e.g. I am a non-smoker.  

Make some enquiries

First ask around if your family or friends know of a hypnotherapy practitioner in Cardiff. Getting a personal recommendation from a friend or family member can indicate that this hypnotherapist is trustworthy. Each patient responds differently to hypnosis and to the individual hypnotherapist conducting the consultations. So aim to keep an open mind about how your own personal experience will compare to your referrer’s experience. If your friend made a dramatic change using hypnotherapy, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you will respond in the same way. Everyone is different. Overly high expectations can hinder your own progress because you are overly focused on just “getting there”. There will be several reasons why your condition and response to treatment will be different. If you are searching online for a hypnotherapy practitioner in Cardiff, then take your time to do your research. A professional-looking website will say something about the hypnotherapist’s presentation and attention to detail; a part-time hypnotherapist may not be as committed. The website should “feel” right on a commercial level when browsing, but other more important details should convince you to employ them (Registered practitioner, see below).  

What information is important?

There are certain details on a website that are extremely important when choosing a Hypnotherapy Practitioner in Cardiff. Registered Practitioner: Genuine registered practitioners will have their names listed on their Hypnotherapy Association’s website. Many of the Hypnotherapy Association websites have a link back to the Hypnotherapist’s website. Some of the more established Associations include the Hypnotherapy Association, General Hypnotherapy Register and Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council. Being listed can give you confidence that the hypnotherapist is qualified, registered and insured and that they follow a strict code of ethics and professional conduct. It also identifies that the hypnotherapist maintains Continuous Professional Development. Some Associations request that the Hypnotherapist is also CRB checked. Don’t be swayed just by “letters” after a hypnotherapist’s name. Most of these “letters” simply reflect the Association registration details e.g. MHA shows that the hypnotherapist is a registered Member of the Hypnotherapy Association). Testimonials: You would expect to see a few testimonials written from previous patients if a hypnotherapist is experienced and competent. But when compared to employing a Plumber or Electrician, most therapy patients are not always proud of needing therapy in the first place. In addition to this, many issues are sensitive and confidential and so very few people want to make their issues public. In my opinion, getting a genuine testimonial is rare. Hypnotherapy Practice: You may prefer to be treated in a professional Therapy Centre rather than someone’s house. Clarify this if their location is vague on their website i.e. they say they “practice in Cardiff” without specifying the type of premises or the specific location.  

Ask some questions...

When you have created your Hypnotherapy Practitioner in Cardiff shortlist, spend some time asking questions either by email, telephone or in person. Most therapists are happy to spend a few minutes discussing your issues and your suitability for treatment. Ask them about how they treat your condition and what hypnotherapy techniques they use. Be wary of a hypnotherapist who advertises a fixed course of treatment e.g. one session to treat a phobia. Without them knowing your medical history, they won’t know how much your goal is affected by other health issues. Realistically, they may be able to estimate the number of treatment sessions, but use this as a guide. Saying that they treat a condition in a specified time does not necessarily mean that it can be done successfully in that time; it just implies their approach to your condition. What research have they done to verify this? If they have done research, all hypnotherapists and the NHS would be using these methods! Be wary of any specific advertising of “cures” and “permanent changes”. If their treatment is that reliable, then research will have been completed and presented in a journal. If they advertise a “guarantee”, ask for it in writing before making a booking so that you can clearly see the terms and conditions. The terms and conditions would also be important if a hypnotherapist offers an upfront payment for a discounted course of treatment e.g. six sessions for the price of five. Can you stop the therapy if you are unhappy with how the course is progressing? After having contacted your hypnotherapy practitioner in Cardiff and discussed your condition, you are more likely to book an appointment if your expectation has been raised. If not, think about it and ask them some more questions. Only book when you are ready.  

For further information on how a hypnotherapy practitioner in Cardiff can help you, contact Richard J D’Souza - NHS senior registered Clinical Hypnotherapist


Clinical Hypnotherapy Cardiff

Clinical Hypnotherapy Cardiff

Clinical hypnotherapy Cardiff is an established (1997) Clinical Hypnotherapy and Stress Management practice specialising in the treatment of stress and anxiety-related conditions. The therapy commonly treats conditions like phobias, losing weight and smoking cessation. Stress and anxiety can also be associated with a number of other conditions including IBS, panic attacks, habits and insomnia.
Clinical Hypnotherapy Cardiff logo
Clinical Hypnotherapy Cardiff registered practitioner

Clinical Hypnotherapy Cardiff: Objective

The therapy uses a range of techniques and strategies to find the most direct way to help you achieve your therapeutic goal. Some goals can be achieved quickly using a solution-focused approach. When deep-rooted issues are apparent, techniques can be employed to re-frame the cause of a more complex condition. The therapy incorporates approaches used in other complementary therapies including Hypno-CBT, psychotherapy, counselling, NLP, Coaching and Stress Management.  

Senior registered practitioner

You can be assured that you are being treated by a professionally qualified and licensed Clinical Hypnotherapist. He is a member of The Hypnotherapy Association and The Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council. He is also a senior member of The General Hypnotherapy Register and a qualified teacher. Registered practitioners are bound by a strict code of conduct and ethics, so you can trust that you are being treated competently and confidently by a qualified client-centred hypnotherapist.  

Change your thinking...Change your life!



The practice is based at The Therapy Centre in Roath, Cardiff. The Therapy Centre offers a number of mainstream and complementary therapies including Physiotherapy, Osteopathy, Acupuncture, Shiatsu, Homeopathy and Sports Massage. The Therapy Centre treats patients privately and patients from local businesses. The Therapy Centre has free parking if you are travelling by car. It is also within easy reach of Queen Street Railway station and accessible using Cardiff Bus service.  

For further information on how hypnotherapy can help you, contact Richard J D’Souza, senior hypnotherapist.