Posted on 10 October 2017
I took a break from my anxiety hypnotherapy clinic in Henley to grab a cup of tea in my favourite café last week. As I sat down, and old friend spotted me and came over for a chat. We hadn’t seen each other for ages and she asked me ‘how is your talking thing going, doesn’t it get boring just listening to people tell you all their problems?’ I took a deep breath and said, ‘Well it would be boring if someone just droned on and I just nodded in sympathy and then they went away. But what I do is not like that at all. The point isn’t the talking, it’s the changing . . . and that is where the skill comes in.’
We chatted on a bit and it was lovely to see her, and it got me thinking. How many people think that coming to see a cognitive hypnotherapist is just about talking? Then, an article in the Daily Telegraph caught my eye. Freelance journalist Flic Everett had written a long piece entitled ‘Could talking about anxiety make it worse?’
Flic, who has suffered from lifetime anxiety, describes how her heart sank when her latest psychotherapist (she has seen a lot) said cheerily as she left the office ‘see you next week.’
I get that, the idea that seeing a therapist week after week, year after year is somehow magically going to help. And I do see a few people who have got the ‘therapist habit,’ where I am just the latest. Then my goal is that I am the latest and the last. Perhaps that could be a slogan ‘Therapy stops at the Henley anxiety hypnotherapy clinic’!
Some people do need a lot of therapy, but most don’t. I usually see clients four or five times. Modern therapies, such as eye movement techniques, EFT (‘tapping’) techniques and Havening techniques can have a much quicker effect. I find that they work best blended with Cognitive Hypnotherapy, where we can also get to the root of some of the beliefs and behaviours which are causing the anxiety.
I liked Flic’s article as she mentioned a whole number of these recent techniques. She also made another really good point, she quoted experts who have shown that lifestyle changes can help in ‘rerouting’ the brain and overcoming anxiety. Moderate exercise, getting outdoors, eating well and not drinking too much can all help, as can a good social network of friends and family. There is now a lot of evidence for this, for example, a study last year found that connecting with nature made a real difference to anxiety levels.
Lifestyle changes can help to a certain degree but it is important to work with what is actually causing the anxiety. If you are suffering from severe and disabling anxiety and you come to see me, we will work to pinpoint and positively change the root cause or causes of your anxiety. However, as you begin to change, making good lifestyle changes can be both a help and a pleasure.
So if you have a therapy habit to break then come and see me. I will try not to keep you long.
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