The Choice Option

There’s a glimpse of sunshine. Perhaps two.

Option 1:

Here we go again. Dare to hope or hunker down and wait for the punch that’s always turned up so far.
Every time it’s improved, it’s turned around and slapped us.
Hard.
It’s beyond us. Out of our control.
Life just keeps on happening to us.

Option 2:

Every time it felt like we can’t carry on, there’s been hope. Something has come along and lifted our spirits. A new fact. Uncovering a way of looking at the problem, which gives pause for thought. Get’s the medics thinking again. Trying something new. Adjusting the balance.
Whatever comes along, we’re up to it.
We have to be.
No. It’s more than that.
We choose to be.

External Locus of Control vs. Internal Locus of Control

Simple.
Not easy.

I’ve made my choice.

Enough said.

It's a delicate balance © Tony Burkinshaw 2013

It’s a delicate balance
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

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The Turn of the Century? A bit of a pain…

Unless WordPress is very much mistaken, this is my 100th post so maybe it’s time to begin to accept that blogging has become more than just a passing fancy.

If all is indeed as it seems then on average, every time I post, twenty people make the decision to follow this blog, so by the time you get to read this one, there should be over 2000 followers. Check out the stats to see if I’m right – I know I will. After a comment like that, I have to make sure, really.

It all started off for me with a couple of long term marketing objectives in mind, prompted by the training I was undertaking and in particular, the use of looped metaphors, which as time has gone on you might find I’ve woven into the fabric of one or two posts you might have read previously. Check them out, they can be quite powerful because you lose track of what’s on the surface and hidden meanings somehow emerge without you really even thinking about them.

Given that pain management has turned up a few times in these one hundred posts, I figured it was about time I put some of the pain management techniques to a proper test and volunteer myself to myself as it were, as a guinea pig. As if on cue a great opportunity presented itself when one of my molars broke on New Year’s Eve.

We went out for a meal and the very first bite came with an unexpected crunch, as it does sometimes. So, to ensure that the rest of the evening wasn’t spoilt in any way by sensitive teeth, I quickly went through a couple of rounds of dissociation, and Escudero, as you do and duly spent the remainder of the evening eating, drinking and generally making merry.

As is always the case, my dentist couldn’t see me for three weeks, unless it was an emergency and as I was happily controlling cold and pressure sensitivity, I booked in and waited. Of course, by now, my cynical inner voice was telling me that the pain control techniques I was using were only being effective because the tooth didn’t actually hurt anyway. A bit of a Catch 22 seeing I wasn’t going to stop using them because I really didn’t want to risk proper tooth-ache either. So I carried on and periodically argued with myself about whether I was being effectively skillful or plainly self-delusional.

Anyway, off I went to dentist, practising pain relief techniques so that I could truly test them out and found myself following habit and protocol and quietly going along with the dentist’s “OK, let’s numb it up then shall we?”. I felt a bit of a fraud.

Mind you, being no stranger to fillings, I can honestly say that every single filling I have ever had, ever, has been pretty painful even with injections. There have always been those moments when I find myself groaning as drill bites harder and wishing it would all finish ten minutes ago please.

This time, I genuinely felt nothing at all. It was almost pleasant. I’ve never had that before. But then again, as Gill said afterwards, maybe this dentist is particularly good.

Obviously this left me with no option but to test it out for real. So I did.

As is appropriate with these things, I started with the easier option, stole a pin from the sewing basket, sterilised it and, yes, pushed it slowly through the back of my hand.

I have to say it was odd. Three things stick in my mind.

1. It didn’t hurt. Really. Not at all.

2. Watching the point of the pin reappear was fascinating.

3. It was surprisingly hard to pull it out again. And it didn’t bleed. Not one drop.

Now in the scheme of things, especially in the era of YouTube videos of well known people pushing skewers through their arms, this is small time stuff. But it’s my small time stuff. And when I can figure out the best way to do it, I think it might make a really good video convincer about the power of the mind. Maybe even help potential clients make up their minds about just how powerful hypnotherapy really is and perhaps help persuade them to get in touch.

On the other hand it might put them off. I’d love to know what you think.

Oh, and I took a picture of it on my phone. I didn’t post it with this as I’m not sure this is the right forum. Good call? Or would you like to see it?

Anyways, the longer this ride goes on, the more pleased I am that I made the decision to get on the Cognitive Hypnotherapy train and follow the tracks on the slightly weirder side of life.

I have no idea how far it might take me but I keep meeting fantastic people, helping a few others along the way and more and more folks seem to want to talk to me about it.

Long may it continue.

pain relief mp3

Somewhat Zen
© Tony Burkinshaw 2014

Related:

Pain relief mp3: Click Here

False Hope: Is it really possible?

Hope.

Hope that Springs Eternal, to misquote a pope which, if you’ve read Dan Brown, is misleading.

It occurred to me today in between the coughs that are all that remain of the second-hand cold I’ve been fighting off since my wife caught it from my sister on Boxing Day, (a sort of genetically modified, festively duplicated cold-in-law perhaps?), that there oughtn’t to be any such thing as a false hope.

It’s a criticism levied at those of us who look positively at negative situations by those chappies who’s own particular stance and opinion is negatively tuned, often by the potential for litigious back-lash. For some, it is apparently better to accept that the worst is reality and that entertaining the slightest optimism for a better outcome isn’t worth the risk of massive potential disappointment if the worst then duly turns up and kicks you right in the teeth.

I get it.

But surely this is simply not hoping; actively deciding that Hope is not worth the risk of Hope being dashed.

This is not false hope nor is it actually making a case for hope to be ignored. It is simply weighing up the pros and cons of entertaining hope and opting for the downside of life as either it is pretty likely to turn up anyway, or grinding your way through yet another disappointment is more than you can bear.

This is not a nice place to be. Life throws some horrible things at us sometimes. Sometimes Hope can feel too big.

But my point I suppose, is that taking the risk of hoping for a better outcome is more than simply ignoring the obvious truth of your situation, as some naysayers would have it.

Taking the risk of hoping can bring some immensely powerful guns to bear on an otherwise hope-less situation. Not least of these is that by truly opting for hope; opting to believe that there just might be way beyond the apparent certainty you’ve been expecting; that one of the most complex and least understood mechanisms in western culture can finally fire up and weigh in on your side.

Those of your that follow me regularly will probably have guessed that I’m alluding to that not-so-mythical mind-body connection. That aspect of eastern philosophy that is being slowly uncovered and accepted as our sciences become more adept at measuring such ephemerous concepts.

Maybe there’s a reason that hope springs eternal. Maybe Alexander was simply expressing a deeply ingrained feature of our human make-up that is designed to get us to stoke up the fires of the mind-body connection and generate every last vestige of opportunity for the bad thing, whatever it that bad thing might be, to be overcome.

Hope really can change your destiny.

But what if it didn’t.

What if, despite Hope, the bad thing happened. Your illness didn’t go away? The pain didn’t recede? It really did turn out to be the death that comes to us all, scythe in bony hand depending on your local anthropomorph?

Does this mean that the hope was false?

Not at all. Hope is just that. Hope. Nothing more.

My point is that by hoping, you bring every last possibility to bear on the side of your own victory. By hoping, every last possible chance and opportunity has been taken.

And if hope doesn’t work, what’s the consequence?

Well, for the time that you were hoping, life had a more positive feel. You did what you could. You felt as if you were in control. You were in charge of your destiny, not the bad thing.

The disappointment of losing your personal battle is no more disappointing because you hoped.

The hope wasn’t false. It was just hope.

If you look at Hope and you decide that it is not for you, then I’d ask that you consider your decision having thought and felt a little more about what Hope might bring, if only you dared to entertain it. It brings so much more than wishful thinking. It just might turn the tide.

One of the key aspects of my therapy practice is enabling clients to find Hope in what they had previously considered to be hope-less situations.

It’s one of the key turning points in therapy.

Once that fire of Hope is lit, we’re homeward bound.

RELATED:

Hypnotherapy Website:

Hypnotherapy downloads: (Pain, Migraine, Healing, Mindfulness Meditation, Relaxation)

 

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They hope it reflects progress
© Tony Burkinshaw 2014

Effectively Challenging: The Future?

Of course the downside is Cognitive Hypnotherapy is way too effective.

It may sound a little weird coming from a therapist but from a purely business perspective, clients do tend to get well pretty quickly which means that I need to find a constant stream of new clients with new problems.

As a Cognitive Hypnotherapist, I’m delighted that the techniques I use with my clients can make profound differences to their lives in a such short space of time. However, as someone trying to earn a living, there is the occasional pang of jealousy for other therapies where a client may keep coming back to you many months, sometimes even years.

There are a couple of things which have brought this to mind over the Festive Season, which has done its usual trick of disappearing too quickly and returning to normal again? Must be something to do with it being Twelfth night, (depending on which definition of twelfth you plump for).

I’ve started trialling AdWords, which I’ve had in mind for some time but have never quite been prepared to risk actual budget on, so Google came to my aid and offered me a pretty decent voucher to try it out. So I’ve ventured out into the world of AdWords Express, the delightfully easy version which is incredibly easy to set up and which, if you don’t keep a close eye on it, eats into said budget like a ravenously hungry eating thing.

That said, it has delivered a couple of prime client enquiries and many multiples of views of my AdWords ad. It’s definitely been worth it for name awareness and probably for return on investment, especially because so far, there hasn’t been any.

I’ve put it temporarily on hold whilst I explore taking my new-found AdWords Express know-how and see if I can apply it more cost effectively to the grown-up AdWords proper version before my voucher completely runs out. That’s part of next week’s work. With luck it’ll deliver more control of the context that the ad’s words turns up in & so makes the C.P.C., (for those in the know), less costly per click, (which gives away the esoteric knowledge needed for the previous TLA which is a throwback to previous posts).

So there I’ve been, advertising my services alongside the usual possibility that my website might actually turn up in its own right, (not that I’ve noticed it doing so thus far), and the occasional view that it gets from the Hypnotherapy Directory, which has also paid its way, by the way, and beginning to find that I was getting some new clients from other than word of mouth (hooray) only to find that my current clients all went and got better, (double Hooray) except that this means that the boost in client bookings pre-Christmas wasn’t a boost so much as a replacement.

Ah well.

Then I find that my carefully crafted triple-checked ad that I’m trialling in the local villages, (yes, all six of them: villages that is, not magazines), magazine ‘The Village Tribune’, which has its own website, (take a look if you like), didn’t actually say that I’m local which was kind of the whole point. That’ll need updating for the next edition in March, I suppose.

It’s all a learning experience and leads unfortunately for you readers of this blog post, into a rambling discourse on advertising and client flow. Nonetheless, if you’ve got this far, your finding at least some entertainment value, so keep up – here we go again.

In short (not really) this is where I find myself at the beginning of 2014’s adventure.

I’ve been able to significantly help my most challenging clients and, again significantly, they fell within the expected 3 – 7 therapy session range. They’ve involved anxieties, migraines & pain, depression, PTSD, stress triggered epilepsy amongst other interesting conditions. It’s kept me on my toes and 2014 is shaping up to continue in this vein.

My dalliances with advertising, (more toe dipping than anything else, really), will almost certainly turn into something more ongoing. Allied with my mental-health well-being column, this should provide pretty reasonable background awareness with the intention that when a prospective new client finds themselves prospecting, so-to-speak, about who to approach, Tony Burkinshaw Cognitive Hypnotherapy should have passed the number-of-times convincer test.

In essence, if they’ve seen my name around, consciously or unconsciously, more than 3 times in different environments, this lends a level of validity that wouldn’t exist if they had only come across me for the first time. That’s the theory.

I’m also about to run the very first Unlock Your Learning Potential course for the Chartered Insurance Institute. It’s a course I’ve designed from scratch specifically for them, following a series of conversations with them last year. I’m pretty damned excited about it too, which is probably why it has the least space in this post.

Odd.

On top of this I’m seeking to do a revamp of my website, possibly moving it over to WordPress.org so I can SEO the hell out of it, to borrow a phrase from Victoria, (another excellent Cognitive Hypnotherapist of my close acquaintance). I might also rework the Facebook page associated with this blog and change its name & purpose so it links more cleanly between blogging and the business of actually providing therapy. This all needs some proper thinking through and whatever suggestions you might have would be welcome.

There are, as with any future, potentially good outcomes and quite a few potentially challenging ones. The point is in my line of work, an important skill I teach to others is how to focus on the potentially good outcomes. It makes the future much brighter, (although perhaps no longer Orange, following their multiple mergers). After all, challenges are simply what they say they are. Challenges. They’ll either be met and over-come, met but not over-come or completely ignored in the hope they’ll go away.

Whatever the outcome, challenges eventually disappear into the past, leaving the bright future to get even brighter whilst you enjoy now. Mindfulness.

All in all it’s shaping up to be a good year.

Even though we’re only a few days in, I have a good feeling about what lies ahead.

See you there?

Related

Random Acts of Kindness: a new slant on Twitter… follow me here

Tony Burkinshaw Cognitive Hypnotherapy: click here

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Out of the past & into the future
© Tony Burkinshaw 2014

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

Meanwhile…

Happy New Year….

 

 

 

Parliament? It’s an award, apparently!

The Parliament Award was created by Bishop Eddie Tatro, (you should check out his blog, if you haven’t already), and was given to me by Ewa  from fibromyalgiaandselfdisorders. It is really appreciated!

The Rules of this Award are simple:

  1. Firstly, display the Award on your site (see Award page or sidebar!) You earned it and you deserve it!
  2. List a few things that make you a loyal member.
  3. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  4. Nominate at least five (5) well deserving bloggers whose loyalty and love you value and consider part of your Parliament and Pack; for the Award and let them know the wonderful news by sending them a message on their site.

Here we go…:

1. I try to make each of my posts a meaningful or entertaining read. If you’re going to take the time to read what I write, I want to make it worth your while.
2. I try to write every week but the more astute amongst you will have noticed that I take the occasional sabbatical. It’s nothing personal, I simply didn’t find that spark that was worth your time. Be patient – I always turn up again, like the proverbial bad penny!
3 The last two years (longer?) have taken me on a pretty amazing journey. Some if it fantastic, some of it pretty tearful. I’m trying to share the highlights.
4 If I read something that I like, well, I ‘like’ it.
5 I love comments, whether good or bad. Feedback is the breakfast of champions & you guys keep me sharp.

So. Over to the nominations…

I would include the legendary Bishop himself but as he created the award, it would seem a little narcissistic, so Eddie my friend, you will have to be content the mention in the very sentence of this post! (…and in the last one – almost)

1. secondhalfwoman

2. jadereyner

3. heilablog

4. herheartandsoul

5. petitemagique

Thank you & have a fantastic 2014

 

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.

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The colouring bin
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

Espresso Pain Relief?

I know it’s trivial but on a harmless everyday level this illustrates one of the fundamental drivers of pain. All pain.

We have a coffee pot. One of those old fashioned / retro metal espresso makers that you sit on the hob. You know, where you put the water in the bottom, the coffee in the middle and then when it boils, the steam forces the water under pressure through the coffee and into the pourer-jug thing at the top.

It’s absolutely not a percolator. Despite the cleverness of some of the ads in the ’70s and ’80s (yes, I am that old), it is my considered opinion that percolators murder good coffee. This is not one of them. Coffee is too important to treat badly.

Anyway, with this one, the espresso maker, the top and bottom screw together so it’s pressure-sealed and doesn’t leak steam and boiling water all over the place. I know they’re a bit low-tech compared to the modern electric capsule-coffee machines that look like futuristic robots and Mr Clooney advertises them all over the place but it has one big advantage. It makes great coffee. That is, if you like espresso-based coffee. Which as you might have guessed, I do.

So here’s the interesting thing I noticed about pain.

To save time, I boil the kettle and use boiling water in it instead of heating it up from cold on the hob. I’m usually making other drinks at the same time, so it makes sense to use the water that’s already hot, don’t you think?

What that means of course, is that when you screw the top onto the bottom, the bottom is literally boiling-hot and being metal, it has a high heat-transfer coefficient. (I’m pretty sure this is the first time that heat-transfer coefficients have made it into this blog, going back to my chemical engineering heritage).

Now whilst this is very sensible from a water-heating point of view, it also means that it’s bloody hot when you grab it to tighten the top onto the base. Hot enough to be too painful to hold. I use a tea-towel to hold it so that I don’t burn my fingers.

Now this is the thing. On occasion, when there was no tea-towel to hand, I’d tighten it bare fingered. Carefully, a bit at a time, blowing my fingers in between turns as you do. There’s a small steam safety valve you can use so you don’t have to hold it fully and still get a good grip with just two fingers. Even so, it was still too hot to hold and I’m too lazy to go get another tea towel…

Just recently, I’ve noticed that I’ve stopped using the tea-towel technique altogether and no longer burn my hand. I seem to have developed ‘asbestos fingers’ as my mother calls it whenever someone can hold something hot, with echoes of ‘you’re-just-like-your-Dad’ in the air. The traditional explanation about being able to do things that other people find painful is that because you’ve done it so often, your nerve-ends have become desensitised to the temperature/chemical/pressure stimulus. You just don’t feel the heat.

It’s wrong. That’s not how it works.

If I pick up other hot things, boiling hot things that are obviously just as hot because water always boils at the same temperature, (that recently resurrected chemical engineer is now shouting what-about-pressure-effects?), it hurts just as much as before.

It’s only the coffee pot that no longer hurts me. Weird?

Not really. It does make sense. In essence, what’s happened is that over time, my unconscious mind has discovered that when I screw the coffee pot together, even though it is boiling hot, I never get injured. It simply doesn’t take long enough for my fingers to actually burn. There’s not enough time for tissue damage.

This means that at a very deep level, I know that making coffee this way is not going to damage my fingers, so I don’t need pain to warn me about the danger because there isn’t any danger.

My unconscious has turned off the pain alarm. Not for heat, because other hot things still hurt. Just whilst I make coffee. Interestingly, if the base slips when I’m screwing it together the pain flicks back on instantly. Which hurts. Damn.

One of the keys to not feeling pain, depends on your unconscious mind believing that you are not threatened with tissue damaging danger. So if your environment is perceived as safe and no further tissue damage is likely, (as in normal coffee pot dynamics), a pain alarm is not needed. But if the environment is perceived as being threatening, (the coffee pot slips), then the pain alarm is flicked back on again.

As I said at the beginning, this may be trivial but it’s a real-life everyday example of a correctly functioning, complex pain alarm. It explains how something that used to hurt, doesn’t. It’s isn’t that practice teaches you how to ignore it, it’s that practice teaches your unconscious mind that this particular activity is not going to damage you.

As it turns out, it’s also a fundamental principle behind hypnotic pain management. At their core, most hypnotic pain management techniques tell you that you are safe.

Some help you to perceive that you are in an increasingly safe state both physically and emotionally and that your tissues are not undergoing increasing damage (useful to combat chronic conditions).

Some help you to feel distance or disconnection from the tissue damage itself, (sensory distortions or dissociations). If the unconscious perceives that the damage is not happening to its body, then pain alarm is not needed and isn’t fired.

Still others modulate the sensory input so that the unconscious is convinced that the nerve messages are wrong. For example experiencing numbness means that the nerves which send messages of damage are countermanded, (after all if the area is numb, there can’t be any nerve messages can there?), so the actual tissue damage goes unreported. No danger. No pain.

So, coffee pots aside, if you find yourself with pain management issues, I’d urge you to seriously consider the benefits of hypnotherapy as part of your strategy, especially if you have long term pain or a chronic pain condition (fibro, lupus, CRPS, migraines and so on). And if you do consider it – I’d be happy to help and advise.

As always, if you ask I’ll answer your questions. If you like, I can offer direct therapeutic help either face to face (if you’re local to Peterborough) or via Skype if you’re not. And if you can only afford 10 minutes at a time, there I’ve created some carefully crafted pain management mp3s which are waiting just for you on my website.

So if you hurt – let’s talk.

Related

Tony Burkinshaw Cognitive Hypnotherapy: tonyburkinshaw.co.uk

Pain Management mp3s: tonyburkinshaw.co.uk/shop

Follow me on twitter?: @TBtalks

Random Acts of Kindness: @RAK_UK

Migraine, Lupus, Fibromyalgia, CRPS Hypnotherapy mp3

The Old Rope Trick?
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

 

Chronic Pain: What a relief?

It still surprises me just how powerfully Cognitive Hypnotherapy can affect the physical symptoms the human body suffers. It is genuinely remarkable.

This of course flies us straight into the face of one of pain’s key conundrums and, as it turns out, one of the keys which allows Cognitive Hypnotherapy to address otherwise intractable symptoms which consistently defy pharmaceutical intervention.

A fundamental driver of evolutionary development is to staying alive to propagate genes and a key components of achieving this is a means of identifying and responding to threats. It is extremely effective and adaptive. We know this because we are (possibly) the dominant species on this planet.

Herein lies the route of our painful downfall.

Pain is one of these absolutely vital alarms which keep us safe. When something is damaging your body, it is imperative that you respond. Right now. Without thought or debate. It is designed to grab your attention and demand, absolutely demand, that you act. In this way, by prioritising damage as the highest of the immediacy alarms, you are forced to deal with something which could either kill you or injure you to the point when your continued survival is compromised. Pain even triggers physical responses to help us heal. Redness, swelling, rashes, increased sensitivity, stiffness, reduced range of movement can all be triggered by pain in order to assist with healing.

Quite simply, our bodies don’t want us or our children to die and will scream at you until you act.

But…

what if responding to the damage could in itself compromise your chance of survival or of propagating your genes in that imperative manner geneticists like to refer to? What if responding to being in pain lets down other defence mechanisms like fight or flight or prevents you from saving your offspring?

Well, as it turns out, the pain alarm is extremely sophisticated. Not only does your brain assess the information from your body (nerve input about pressure, temperature, chemical effects, danger to tissues) but it assesses this against all manner of other inputs it is receiving about your overall situation. It does what it does best, lightening fast projection of what could happen and how to respond in multiple scenarios, so quickly that we quite simply aren’t aware of it. We do it all the time.

The more dangerous the situation your brain believes you to be in, the more sensitively it sets its alarms. You are more likely to jump at a sudden noise or movement when you’re scared than when you’re calm and happy. You’re more likely to feel pain when you expect to sustain tissue damage.

There is an exact opposite to this, though. If your situation is so dangerous that dealing with pain would be yet more dangerous, then the pain alarm does not fire. There are many stories of people who have saved themselves or loved ones from danger even though they have been injured already. The pain didn’t arrive until later. When there was time to hurt.

These are the pre-cursors of chronic pain. 

After tissue damage, the body repairs itself to whatever level it can and the pain alarm returns to its normal sensitivity. Sometimes however, the brain has become so used to firing the pain alarm that it mistakes it’s own sensitivity as further tissue damage. Sometimes it treats its own increased sensitivity as continued indication that your environment is more dangerous than it really is. It enters a spiral of pain sensitivity that it doesn’t recognise and doesn’t try to find a way out of it because it believes you are in too much danger.

In a very real way, your brain has begun to jump at its own shadow.

Modern living causes another twist in the tail. The bulk of the threats we face are social rather than physical. But as a social being we perceive socially threatening situations as dangerous. So if we feel socially vulnerable (anxiety, stress, tiredness, depression), we automatically increase our perceived threat levels. If we are unhappy about where we live, the job we have, the threat of redundancy, worry about money, arguments with our partner, concern about our children, worry about our health, all of these are assessed as indicators that our environment is dangerous.

Given that prolonged pain can lead to anxiety, stress and depression, chronic pain can extend its spiral because eventually the perceived threat is sustained by chronic pain itself.

This is where Cognitive Hypnotherapy becomes extremely effective.

It uses a variety of powerful techniques which are designed to help you perceive increased levels of safety and control within your own environment. These are superbly effective at reducing anxiety, stress and depression; dealing with phobias; social fears such as public speaking and so on. It is these very tools which allow Cognitive Hypnotherapy to have such dramatic effect on chronic pain conditions.

Given that perception of pain is based on the level of tissue damage and the assessed level of immediate threat in your environment, then the most predominant trigger for chronic pain is the perception of threat alone. After all, one of the key definitions of chronic pain is ‘pain which is continuing for more than 12 weeks or after the time at which healing would have been thought to have occurred’. In essence, if the pain you have is ‘chronic’ then, by definition, your tissues are no longer sustaining damage.

Cognitive Hypnotherapy prompts your unconscious mind to recognise the reality of the level of safety you have, both externally and internally, physically and psychologically, then the assessed environmental threat level is reduced and the pain alarm is fired less and less. As the pain alarm is fired less and less, the brain allows the nerve receptors themselves to gently return to their normal sensitivity.

With careful work, your unconscious perception of threat is reduced and perception of safety and control is increased. This sets up a virtuous circle of feedback. Gradually and gently the frequency of pain reduces until it becomes something that used to happen.

Chronic pain can become a thing of the past.

Using Cognitive Hypnotherapy, both face to face, over Skype and through carefully designed mp3 recordings, many clients have been helped out of the spiral of their chronic pain.

Why not join them?

You’ve only got one thing to lose. Your pain.

Related:

http://tonyburkinshaw.co.uk/shop : Chronic Pain Hypnotherapy mp3

http://www.britishpainsociety.org/ : further information about chronic pain

Chronic Pain, Hypnotherapy mp3

The Outlook is Sunny
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013