2013: Life according to WordPress

hypnotherapy, pain relief mp3, relaxation mp3

So that was 2013?
© Tony Burkinshaw 2104

According to WordPress.com this is the 2013 annual report for this blog.

It looks quite good to me but then, I am biased. It’s way more important what you think.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Click here to visit tonyburkinshaw.co.uk

Blog of the Year? Apparently it’s me!

And so to the Blog of the Year Award 2013

I am very proud to be able to say that I’ve been nominated for the Blog of the Year 2013 Award by the Alisha, that brilliant blogger of Poemotherapi Shoppe (a blog name which I have surely mispronounced many a time in the privacy of my own head!)

Rules for Blog of the Year Award:

1-Select the blog you think deserve the Blog Of The Year 2013 Award.

2-Write a post about the blog you have chosen (there are no minimum or maximum number of blogs required) and ‘present’ the blog(s) with their award.

3-Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the instructions with them

4-Come over and say hello to the originator of the Blog Of The Year 2013 Award via this link: http://thethoughtpalette.co.uk/blog-awards-2-/blog-of-the-year-2013-award/

5-You can now also join the Blog Of The Year Award Facebook Page. Click the link here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BlogoftheYear to share your blog posts with an even wider audience.

6-Finally, as a winner of the award, please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award-and then

Proudly display the award on your blog – and start collecting stars!

Here Is My Awardee:

[As he has a host of followers & awards, he may already be the proud owner of this one – never mind, multiplicity is no bad thing!]

Hooray for Shaun @ Praying for one day


Happy New Year….




The space between. A time of promise.

There’s a lull between Christmas and the New Year, when you’ve sufficed sufficiently but can’t yet relax your guard because there’s one more day of celebration ahead and depending on your heritage this could be a really big day.

Whilst I’m partly descended from those lads north of the border, the bloodline is thin enough for me not to feel the compulsion of first-footing and all that downing of multiple not-so-wee drams. That’s not to say I’m planning to abstain nor that I won’t partake of another drop or two from that freshly opened bottle of Talisker, more that I’m hopeful that I’ll surface sometime before mid-day on Wednesday with a more or less intact inner constitution.

Given that I’m booked in to the local pub New Year’s bash from 7.30, that could be a bit of a tall order.

Then again, 2013 has been a year of expanding horizons and honing new talents so you never know. As this will be my first New Year’s Eve as a published columnist and hypnotherapist, anything is possible. I’ll be starting the New Year with clients booked in for exam-anxiety & learning coaching, stress and anxiety management, pain & illness hyper-sensitivity,  PTSD, and weight loss.

I’m advertising through Adwords & our local village magazine and the next column is out in early January. Although website views are increasing, it’s time to begin the first proper website overhaul and maybe transfer it over to WordPress.org so I can SEO the hell out it. Time will tell.

On top of that, my Financial Services consulting career has taken a turn for the complicated and is bearing fruit with high-level competence assessments and some learning coaching courses booked in already. It’ll be an interesting first quarter. Not only that. I find myself in a better place than I’ve been personally for some while.

This is in part because as my Cognitive Hypnotherapy career progresses, I’ve become adept at identifying and dealing with issues that I’ve either long-ignored or taken for granted. It’s also in no small measure because a beneficial side effect of a career in Cognitive Hypnotherapy, is that you spend your working life eliciting trance phenomena in others in a calm and gentle manner which you have no choice but to listen to as well. I find that I leave most sessions having received therapy by proxy. In some measure, the all hypnosis is self-hypnosis philosophy applies even for the therapist.

Whatever the reason, I find the end of 2013 to be a pretty chilled affair.

People are even downloading and benefiting from my mp3 recordings. I spent some considerable time deciding how long these should be. If you search out there in Google & Bing land, you’ll find a whole host of hypnotherapy mp3s & CDs.

I wanted mine to be long enough to provide serious help but short enough to be something you can pick up and put down when you find yourself in whatever form your own ‘bit-of-a-pickle’ might be. It is a strange truth but if you are for example, extremely stressed, it is nigh on impossible to find 20 minutes to listen to something which will relax you. People in pain quite simply hurt too much to be able to spend time listening for half an hour to something which may relieve that pain.

In the end I settled on 10 minutes. This seems to be long enough to make a difference and short enough, in most cases, to allow the listener to find the mental effort needed to sit down and listen. I wrote and recorded them through they year to cover areas I found clients needed most:

Relief from Chronic Pain Conditions

Pre & Post Surgery Healing

Relief from Breakthrough Pain

Migraine Relief

Mindfulness Meditation

and just for Christmas,

Deep Relaxation

And they’re all designed so that the effect builds with each listen, achieving best results after about 4 weeks according to feedback so far. If you could benefit too, why not try them. They work. And if you’d like to know more or if you want book in to see me, (face to face or through Skype), I’m always pleased to talk and offer advice. Keep in touch. 2014 is full of untapped promise.

hypnosis mp3, pain releif

The colouring bin
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

1000 Views of the Land of the Free

Today is the day this blog reached over 1,000 views from the USA!

This means that one in three views is from America!

(You’re catching up with my UK audience, by the way: on 12/10 last year, the U.S. had 337 views & the U.K. had 1,005. Today you have 1,024 views but the UK has only 1,448. It’s beginning to feel competitive!)

Many thanks to one and all. It’s really pleasing that my blog is being read around the world only 5 months after it all began and I’m grateful for all your support.

It’s been a great start to the New Year. I think 2013 is going to be a good one.

Here’s the score sheet so far:

  • 3,156 views in total (I’m stunned!)
  • 54 countries (just, Wow..!)
  • 186 WordPress followers, (why not join in the fun?)
  • 164 comments (I love to hear from you!)
  • over 400 likes (maybe you like to hear from me too?)
  • I’m starting to get ‘shares’ as well so feel free to share this blog or any of its posts on Reddit, StumbleUpon, Facebook, Twitter or any of the other share buttons below.The more the merrier.
when as if from nowhere...

let the fun begin…

So how come frozen sperm smells like dope?

Well this is historic.

When I started this blog in August, I was part way through my Cognitive Hypnotherapy training and I began blogging because I was so keen to share the weird and wonderful way my thoughts were flying through my head, (note the AD tendencies – no mention of emotions) and I wasn’t at all sure that I’d carry on writing this blog once I had qualified.

As it happens, I did qualify and am now a practising Cognitive Hypnotherapist. It’s fantastic. Not only that, here I am still blogging. (Hooray! I hear you shout – if I listen hard enough).

I’ll be specialising in chronic pain management and fertility issues as, for a variety of reasons, it just seems like the right thing to do and if there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last year, it’s to follow when the right thing calls.

Unsurprisingly, I’ve read many posts by other bloggers about fertility and pain management as well as writing my own. This one grabbed my attention and I figured you’d be interested enough to read it. It has a properly attention gabbing title as I suppose you’d realise as it did that very thing to me.

So sit back, read on and enjoy Thomasina Marshall’s Diary:

it gets everywhere© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

it gets everywhere
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,100 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 4 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

This time it’s personal

Having stoked up the fat reserves in preparation for the end of the world just in case it didn’t actually end but simply became a little more difficult to find adequate calorific resource and then of course as none of that happened, having to continue with the traditional Christmas over indulgence and not being one to flout tradition, I dutifully over indulged, now find myself sat at my laptop once more, overfull and under-creative.

Not in the least concerned as I’ve been in this position before at the start of one or two prior posts, I’ll let my mind wander and it’s good to wonder for those of you in the know, and type whilst the inspiration recovers from its festive pickling and wrests some semblance of continuity from the flow of words. Sometimes all you need is to warm up the ideas and let them flow.

The trick is to allow the creative mind to take over, welcome the ideas, give them space to grow and evolve and then once they’re fully in play, sit back and enter scalpel mode, poking, prodding and generally beating them into a pulp, subjecting them to the harsh conditions of re-readership to see how they stand up to the reality of providing a coherent communication of whatever it is that’s grabbed the current most-important-idea position to whoever it is that you want to believe the current importance you’re trying to communicate.

As this is now the fifth edition of that last sentence, I hope the tactic worked.

And here comes the thought. Every now and then you come across something that lets you know how far you’ve come along a road that you once thought difficult, if not impossible, to travel. As this is that somewhat nowhere-land space between the rush to Christmas and the re-start of the New Year, it’s as good a time as any to post about such reflective things. I’ve been lucky enough to have three of these float themselves past me over the last twelve months.

Important but in 3rd place:

One of few pinnacles in the Financial Services Industry, which as many of you know is the dwelling place of my alter ego, is the status of Chartered Financial Planner. It takes many years and more than a few exams. Including, which is rare these days, exams involving actual writing at a fairly high level of knowledge, (UK QCF level 6, whatever that actually is). Many professional exams, particularly of the continuing professional development kind, employ that famously U.S. armed forces tactic of checking knowledge by multiple choice questions à la WWI Army Alpha tests. Whilst acceptable, they rely on your ability to recognise the correct answer amongst a set of similar distractor answers, although to be fair many of the distractor answers are either ambiguous or just plain daft, making the written reworking of actual application of deep knowledge quite important in the pursuit of the old Chartered watsit.

Just before Christmas, I received my invitation to the Graduation Ceremony in London for 2012 Chartered Financial Planners. As I have only ever taken professional exams that were necessary for my career, rather than just badge collecting as it were, I’m really rather pleased as I never thought that it was something that I’d end up achieving. Having taken my first professional exams in 1993, it’s been a long journey.

A comfortable 2nd:

Then again, whilst wondering what I was going to write about this week, I did re-read a couple of my first ever posts from eighteen weeks ago on this, my first ever blog. I’m averaging 7.5 new followers and 117 views each week from 41 countries. Now I know that many blogs are doing much better than this especially as I’m following some of them. Nevertheless this is far better than I’d believed possible when I started.

Other than a short story in a school magazine which was no more than a paper pamphlet in reality when I was thirteen and again at seventeen, this is the first time I’ve written anything that anyone else had the chance to read. One of these posts even managed to get itself published in Perception the Cognitive Hypnotherapy quarterly e-zine that I mentioned in the last post. Check it out by the way, it really is quite good – the magazine, that is; you’ve already read the article, (said he hopefully).

So, anyway, when I re-read these earlier posts, I was quite impressed with what I’d written and can even begin to see how I’m gradually developing a consistent, if somewhat unique, (according to Tina Shaw, the Perception editor), writing style. As far as I can see, I’m taking a little bit of my experiences, overlaying some hypnotherapeutic philosophy, mixing in a little science and subjecting them to the Hadron Collider that is my imagination.

However, when my over-confidence subsides,  it all feels like it’s just vaguely relevant waffle. Ah well.

Without a doubt No. 1:

The realisation which strikes chords that resonate right down to the core, where it really matters and ceases to be vague or waffle, is a dramatic improvement in my skills. As you know I’m aiming to specialise in both fertility issues and chronic pain management. Now the fertility aspect is just plain fascinating and appeals to the part of me that left biology behind at school and pursued engineering instead of medicine. If you’re going to help with something, I’m not sure how it gets more important than helping couples fulfil one of natures most basic drives. Apart from anything else, it means that I might spend the rest of my life helping people get pregnant. Nice.

However it was the other side which grabbed me and allowed me to realise how far I’ve come along this long and winding metaphor of choice, (well it was time for the next music reference wasn’t it?).

One of the reasons that pain management is particularly important to me is that my daughter has a condition which means she suffers repeated bouts of severe abdominal pain. Until two years ago we had no idea she was even ill although looking back now it’s a little more obvious. Gill and I were called back from my pre-redundancy holiday within twelve hours of landing as Rachael was taken seriously ill and was in hospital under threat of emergency major abdominal surgery. She’s been learning how to cope ever since.

It won’t go away. If the prognosis is correct, this is a life-long deal. Bernie Siegel‘s famous quote rings in my ears ‘accept the diagnosis, not the prognosis’ although somewhere deep down I find to hard to do either. Whatever the deal, however long it’s going to last, my daughter is in pain and there’s nothing I can do about it.

At least, that’s where I stood two years ago.

As is always the way when you think you know something new, what you actually know is only the surface. A little knowledge which appears to go a long way. A total ignorance of just how much you don’t yet know for the simple reason that you don’t yet know enough to recognise that you don’t yet know what you don’t yet know. Unconscious incompetence.

Partly because of this and partly because Rachael is holding on so tight to her hard-won control, she is reluctant to let me do anything that might upset her balance and it has been very difficult to practice my new skills with her.

There have been a couple of occasions where she was willing to let me work with her. When she was last on high doses of steroids, I wrote a carefully worded intervention tailored for her counteracting the effects of Cushing’s Syndrome, (not named after our dearly departed Peter but rather Harvey who as far as I know is no relative). Whether it worked or not is up for debate but the side-effects of the steroids were markedly less than before.

Unfortunately, working with her pain less successful. Back in module four we learnt some amazing techniques to manage pain and I did manage to persuade Rachael to let me work with her. The problem was that the more we worked the greater the pain became and the less she could cope. Overlaid onto this is that one of the few symptoms which let her know if her condition has worsened and needs attention, is the pain itself. It is a vital warning sign. Without it she may suffer harm. This makes managing her own pain relief a tricky topic.

She needs the confidence to know she can switch any pain relief on or off when she needs and that she won’t inadvertently mask underlying and important symptoms. As her medication does no more than mask the pain, she can rely on this to fulfil the task in the way she needs. Because of all this and my own inexperience, I left the next move entirely up to her as she needs to make the decision herself as to whether to use hypnotherapy for pain relief.

That was then.

Two days ago she had another bout of severe pain. The usual tactics, including her opioid analgesics weren’t working and Gill tried persuading her to let me work with her. At this point I was going through my usual internal conflict of wishing I could step in whilst also giving her the space she needs, standing apart and trying to engross myself in whatever else was going on at the time. This time the whatever else was Knight and Day, a movie I had yet to watch which is quite unusual for once, so there was definitely a small part of me assuming that Rachael wouldn’t be up for it and I’d finally get to watch a movie that had been on my watch list but had never got high enough up for me to want to part with actual cash for the privilege. As I said, trivial but distracting.

Then Rachael decided that now was indeed the time.

Everything changed. I was working with a confidence that came from having had success managing chronic pain with my volunteer clients. She was still very sceptical but at least she was willing to try.

Hypnotic trance comes with a fixation on a particular thought or sensation. A focus that blurs the link between the conscious and the unconscious, removing the filtering of input and allowing a more direct communication. The trance doesn’t need to be deep, just deep enough.

Rachael’s fixation, her point of focus was, of course, her pain.

Make the pain the centre. That must mean that everything which isn’t the centre, isn’t the pain. If it isn’t the pain, it can relax without affecting the pain. If the pain isn’t under threat, it doesn’t fight back, get worse. It just is. Eventually, all that is left is the centre of the centre. Drop through that and there’s nothing. A kind of truce.

With nothing left, her body decided that it needed rest. She fell asleep before I’d finished. I let her quietly sleep for two hours and then, at midnight, we got her up and into bed. She remembered nothing at all until she woke later.

Of course, for Rachael the hypnotherapy was now cast as just plain weird. The apparent loss of control was too much, falling asleep recalling nothing. I pointed out that her meds would have kicked at that point and that I nothing I had done had hypnotised her into memory loss. Of course again, this just meant that it must have been the meds and not the hypnotherapy which had done all the work. We’ll never know which was more potent or effective.

For me, whether the hypnotherapy was the cause of the relief or not is irrelevant. All I care about is that she was hurting and her meds hadn’t worked. I talked to her for twenty minutes and she slept comfortably right through the night.

With sufficient practice, she could replicate this at will for herself.

I’m intending to replicate it at will for a living.

Bring on 2013.

I’m ready.

and the clouds parted © Tony Burkinshaw 2012

and the clouds parted
© Tony Burkinshaw 2012