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


Meanwhile, back at the beginning…

Helen & I trained at the same time and she’s already found herself featuring a couple of times in this blog. As I recall, she didn’t mind at the time and seeing as she’s happy to appear in the flesh as it were, maybe she’s still content with me periodically lobbing her into the middle of these vaguely relevant ramblings.

This is an article Helen wrote for the latest issue of the Cognitive Hypnotherapy E-zine ‘Perception’. [I’ve added a link to it at the end if you fancy reading more, (or even subscribing). It’s entirely free and written for non-therapists, so it’s brilliantly lacking in jargon. Check it out, you might find you were glad you did.]

Interestingly, (this blog is still trying to get me to use that word I tried and failed to avoid using in a recent post), the weekend she’s referring to is the very same weekend which turned out to be the spur that transformed wishful thinking into the action which became Posts of Hypnotic Suggestion.

Not only that, Helen is the protagonist who featured in that post.

So without Helen, this blog may never have existed.

Thank you.

A Therapist’s Journey

I walked into the Cognitive Hypnotherapy training room, wondering what on earth I was doing there. The previous year I had given up my job as an Assistant Head Teacher of a secondary school when I had given birth to my daughter. In the early months of being a new mother I knew I wanted to work in an area where I could enable people to move forward in their lives. It was an aspect as a teacher I had loved, whether it was helping my students reach their full potential, teachers who needed support or parents who were going through difficult times.

I had come across hypnotherapy whilst I was trying to conceive through IVF and recognised its power to reframe the stories we all tell ourselves which don’t necessarily support us in achieving our goals.  Quite by chance I stumbled across the Cognitive Hypnotherapy website and really liked its approach of recognising the uniqueness behind each person’s issue and having a flexible enough approach to be able to get to the reason behind the presenting issue, rather than just deal with the concern itself.

Within fifteen minutes of hearing the founder of The Quest Institute, Trevor Silvester speak, I knew I had found the right course for me. His words were utterly inspiring, thought provoking and at times challenging. Weekend after weekend we were exposed to new concepts taken from a range of successful therapeutic approaches and slowly but surely the pieces of the jigsaw started to come together and we realised with excitement the potential for deep and significant work with future clients.

Quest is an amazing institute as it attracts likeminded people. All of us in the room were readily open to the new learning’s that we were being presented with and as the months went by we grew into a supportive group willing to give our time and energies to each other to help move our fellow students through difficulties and challenges, using the new techniques we had been taught.

I went to train to be a therapist, was pretty sure I’d make friends, but what I hadn’t bargained for was the therapeutic journey I would find myself on. One weekend we were taught how to do a specific technique and as always we had an opportunity to practice on each other. As I was shortly about to start another round of IVF I decided to be gentle with myself and not focus on anything too deep and meaningful. Instead I chose to focus in on how working as a therapist I could build in being part of a community into my working world. A fairly innocuous area of development. Or so I thought.

Unbeknown to me the strategy bypassed my conscious mind and went straight to the unconscious and revealed an issue that was so deep I had only had glimpses of it over the years and had never made any connections with a situation that happened when I was 22 months old and my inability to conceive naturally in the present day.

I was born seven years after my mother had last given birth and number three in the family. I was evidently a joyful and long awaited addition to the family. A few months later much to the delight of my parents they found they were expecting again. At 22 months old my sister was born with Downs Syndrome. The shock was enormous for my parents and sent reverberations throughout the family. This was in the late 1960’s when approaches and views about Downs was vastly different to thankfully how it is today. My mother in particular found her condition very hard to cope with and at some point after my sister’s birth suffered a breakdown.

My sister was in hospital pretty much continuously for the first two years of her life. My parents almost overnight were absent both physically and emotionally. Earlier than she had wanted she put me into nursery care as she simply didn’t have time to tend to my needs as well as my sister’s. Understandable when it would take over two hours to just to feed my sister at any given time. My parents whole focus obviously was taken up with the arrival of my sister and at 22 months old, bewildered by my parents obvious absence and lack of focus I began to internalise that I was no longer good enough, that the unit I had felt such an affinity with I no longer belonged to and perhaps I wasn’t as loved as I believed.

As the revelation of how this event impacted through the work that I did at Quest, I was able to recognise that throughout my life I had found myself always feeling as if I didn’t quite belong and that on the whole that nagging sense of not being good enough pervaded so many situations.  In my adult life I didn’t feel good enough because I didn’t have a boyfriend, so I got myself a boyfriend. Then I didn’t fit in because in my mind I didn’t have a good enough job, a good enough place to live, a husband, and the icing on the cake when I achieved all that was a child.

Two rounds of IVF following ‘unexplained fertility problems’ and holding my darling daughter I had a moment of peace. I had achieved what everyone else had so surely I was now good enough, surely now I would belong. To my surprise though that feeling didn’t last long as they returned  when  those around me who had their babies at the same time as me were all falling pregnant with their second baby. Once again the club I belonged to felt as though they were shutting their doors to me, just as my 22 month old self felt when the family dynamic shifted so suddenly.

Trevor had taught us that with a number of issues comes a secondary gain. I wondered what my gain was at being unable to fall pregnant naturally. When I asked myself the question I realised that my inability at falling pregnant kept me separate from others, it created a division which although I didn’t want was so terribly familiar. When we are driven by a negative emotion we tend to create exactly what we don’t want.

  The impact was hugely significant and a few months on and now a qualified Cognitive Hypnotherapist myself I continue on my journey of self-discovery using the techniques we were taught, as well as having regular therapy with another Cognitive Hypnotherapist to help me move into my preferred future world that I want to live in. I am learning to recognise my limiting beliefs and more importantly learn how to recognise that these are borne out of thoughts that simply aren’t true. I also recognise that now I have found this  path my road to peace is much shorter than my 43 year old journey to realisation.

My future is filled with a hope and exuberance which is spilling over into my present day. It’s a wondrous feeling. I have no idea whether my shifts in perception and beliefs will result in me having another baby. Whether it does or it doesn’t almost doesn’t matter because I have a growing sense of confidence that with a significant shift in how I view myself in my world I can only be a happier person, secure in who I am and what I have.  With this realisation and knowledge  I can see what a gift I can pass onto my daughter when she too faces her own limiting beliefs.

Having done this remarkable course, as well as experienced first-hand the powerful impact this work can have I now know what I didn’t know when I walked into that room almost a year ago. That Cognitive Hypnotherapy can and indeed does successfully help treat a wide number of issues by truly getting to the heart of the underlying issue and gradually and gently making the changes needed for people to let go of their limiting beliefs that have caused them so many difficulties in the past. I can only say that there is a whole host of therapeutic approached out here for people to choose from.

For me there is now only one choice. Cognitive Hypnotherapy has given me a future in so many ways I couldn’t even have imagined before I embarked on this incredible voyage and I thank each and every individual who has been part of it.

Helen Day

Related articles

That's better © Tony Burkinshaw 2013

That’s better
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

If this is more than nothing…

“Anything more than nothing is progress.”

I heard that more than once over the last year from someone who I’d like to think is now a good friend of mine. You know who you are, (as does every Questie reading this).

I read this post today whilst searching for something for the mid-week re-blog and wanted a post that was different from the others. I hadn’t found Valerie’s blog before but this post struck a chord as I have recently been through that blank spot where there just didn’t seem to be anything there. As Valerie succinctly puts it, when you’re trying to get momentum back, doing something, anything, matters far more than the outcome.

I’ve known many people over the years, myself included, who didn’t do that something simply because the first something was bound to be less than good, beautifully missing the point that the first few somethings are not the result, just steps to get you on the way.

Whether it’s getting fitter, eating healthier, writing blogs, overcoming depression or anxiety, sometimes we refuse to take that first step because it obviously won’t be enough to do the job. We don’t think beyond that first step.

The whole point of the first step is that before you took it, you weren’t moving. Now you are.

Anything more than nothing is progress.

Sometimes that’s the most important lesson my client’s learn.

Sometimes it’s the most important thing I forget to remember. But don’t worry.

I’m taking steps.

Click here to read Valerie’s blog

Obvious, I know© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

Obvious, I know
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

What a week that was !

I just had to let you all know. That was the BEST blogging week EVER

Just look at what I saw:

Best ever day for views: 186

Best ever day for visitors: 119

Over 5,000 views since launch on 28th August last year

I also got my 300th follower, Suburban Queen who blogs at loveleanne

Many thanks to all of you.

Best day ever!

Networking with the other Plan B

It’s getting to the point where I need to step up the pace some more. If you’ve followed the story so far then you’ll be aware that I’d intended all along for this to be a slow burner. One where the momentum is gained gently but securely until it becomes self sustaining and with luck, which you’ll also know by now I don’t believe in so that means my start must by definition be unbelievable, unstoppable. That does scan. Honest.

I was thinking about the invisible trees, woods and which forest comment of my last post. It’s always a bit of a paradigm shift when you realise that the direction you’ve been heading in isn’t taking you quite where you thought. Slow burns are fine, especially if you really are developing a quality approach which will generate a flow of business in the future. But as is often the case, a couple of other seemingly disconnected paradigms went and drifted their shifty way across my path this week determined to make me include the word serendipity in this week’s musings. Apologies.

I came across an article, well not so much came across as got sent as a consequence of the marketing planners at my web-hosting web-hosts, about networks. It’s something I’ve been aware of for quite a while and as Albert-Laszlo what’s-his-face was integral to one of my Quest weekends last year, I suppose it’s more in the territory of my mindset than I realised at the time. The basic principle of the aforementioned A-L, (Barabasi), is that nodes in any network are by nature interdependent and the stability of a network when subject to attack or breakdown is based on the degree of randomness in its nodal connectivity.

In essence, if the nodes are evenly spread, with relatively even numbers of connections between them then whilst a breakage in one or two nodes may be overcome simply via bypassing even though there may be some overload to nearby links, if multiple nodes are affected then the percolation of overload from one to another reaches a critical level and can cause a cascade of overload to disrupt the flow. The overload becomes self-sustaining and Hey Presto! blackouts follow swiftly and we all end up without light and heating even though no further pressure is applied.

Interestingly, if nodes are concentrated in hubs where most nodes have few connections and a few nodes have many connections, then it is difficult for attack or breakdown to affect the the overall system unduly. As long a a signal reaches a hub, then the system will stay up because that hub passes the signal on to significantly large sections of the network and as the hub by definition takes a high load, temporary overload is more easily accommodated. This is why the original design of the World Wide Web was indeed the original design, and is still the basis of its current configuration, albeit quite a it larger in the nodal department if you get my drift. It ensured that global military and intelligence communication could continue throughout the network, even if multiple hubs were destroyed.

One of my strategies in developing my business along slow-but-certain burn lines, my aim is to find clients who are hubs. Clients who are willing and in a position to influence other potential clients into considering that I may be someone who can help. And my skills from my alter-ego world are invaluable here both in recruiting, in the nicest sense of the word, (though obviously that means grave-turning witch-finders are brought to the fore once more), them to the task and alerting them that they are both in the position and have the contacts to be those aforesaid hubs.

Bear with me, the relevance will turn up soon (ish).

The third idea to flutter past was in Skype conversation with Helen. We were talking about strategies, or ‘stradgies’ as an ex-exec of my acquaintance used to call them, (and presumably still does come to think of it), to build a successful practice and obviously a part of that is what actually determines whether you have indeed reached success.

One of my core drivers to achieve this success is not, as some would propose, continuous focus on my goal and working ever harder in longer and longer hours with my eyes never off the prize on a style beloved of purveyors of the 37-habits-of-successful-people-who-I’ve-met-personally and the like. I have to admit that at this point I went all Zen but then I suppose that’s bound to happen at a certain stage of working in any mind-based therapy so perhaps there’s some justification, however, the point I was making was that, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, success is pretty much ending up by ‘having’ more than I ‘want’. I am a firm believer and level one exponent of the art of reaching the goal of having more than I want by teaching myself to want less than I already have. It does seem to be working although it makes it more difficult when it comes to summoning up drive to develop a business. I guess there’s a difference between wanting less and having to put up with less.

And then of course, there’s those emails and tweets you get every now and then that are from those purveyors of habitually successful habit-prone entrepreneurs. The particular tweet that sparked the serendipity flare-up, (that’s twice in one post so I’m genuinely concerned now), appeared to be saying that whatever you do when aiming to be successful, set the bar very high and when you do jump, do it without a safety net or a back up plan of any kind.

For magnificent success, apparently, all or nothing is the order of the day. If you have a back up plan, it seems that you are telling yourself that failure is not only an option but expected.

So where does this paradigm mash-up take us? It’s now taking up residence in my head as a metaphorical explanation of success of the techniques I use and the solutions clients are able to construct for themselves.

Whether we’re talking pain management, stress difficulties or fertility issues, the-wood-for-the-trees and network-hubs are acting as the same thing in reverse. At the centre of these issues there is often a a core idea or nerve gateway or situation that is triggering an overload of perception that results in stress, pain, or body-system levels that are not endurable by the client in a normal healthy mode. We are unconsciously driven to adopt self-preservation strategies which result in stress-breakdown, chronic pain, inabilities to conceive. In this hunkered down protection phase the trees close in and we end up looking at a level of detail which ensures that we can’t navigate our way out of the proverbial wood.

If we reversed this process though, the trees in the wood idea becomes woods in a landscape of forests and clearings, hills, rivers and mountains. With care, you just might find a way of noticing that you aren’t even in the right wood and actually you need to climb a hill just over there and find the woods on the other side. You might not even be a tree dweller and should be living high in the mountains. Or fishing in the seas.

And here comes the back-up-plan idea. There really is no going back once your core idea has been grasped and turned on its head. The point is, once your unconscious is put in a position where it notices not only the wood but the entirety of its landscape, it can never forget. The change is quick. And it’s permanent.

Once you know how to view anew the stress overload, it simply becomes a way of dealing with what you can do and what you can’t do. If a task really is impossible, you now know that it really is impossible. And if it really is possible, then you can now choose the time and effort you are willing to put into it. Until you see this, there is no choice. No way out. That’s what stress does. But once you see it. It isn’t stress. It’s choice.

Oddly, pain follows a similar pattern. Pain is very real. Even though much chronic pain has no apparent medical or physical cause, it is still very real. It, well, hurts. A lot.

Pain follows hubs. Physically, nerves coalesce into bundles and pass through ‘gateways‘ along the spinal cord where the various stimuli are assessed against other stimuli  Stronger pulses get priority. If touch or temperature is stronger than pain, pain is relegated and doesn’t get through. If pain is stronger, pain wins.

Wood for the trees turns up here too. Gateways are not only affected by upward flow but by what is normally expected. If you are constantly in pain, the gateway is set to give priority to pain, even if other stimuli are stronger. This is one theory as to why simple touch can become painful and why chronic pain becomes less responsive to pain killers.

Again, having no Plan B, (which would after all be a pity, musically if nothing else), can be useful here. It is possible to teach your unconscious mind that gateways can be manipulated by downwards regulation. Once this is learned, and let’s face it, if any technique knows about teaching the unconscious, it is Cognitive Hypnotherapy, then you can consciously takes steps to get your unconscious to reset the gateways for you. Without a Plan B, the gateway can’t reset to pain because your unconscious has no doubt that the gateway should be set to give the sensations of touch or hot and cold the priority. If you doubt, it’ll re-open the gateway. Once again, Cognitive Hypnotherapy is adept at giving confidence in techniques you learn. You won’t want a plan b.

Without Plan B and with sufficient training, not only can you downgrade chronic pain, you can effectively anaesthetise the body. You can even carry out operations solely under hypnosis. It’s been undertaken for many years.

The unconscious can re-set how it is running the automatic functions and balances of the body. It can flip the core precept from protection to growth, allowing us to function in a healthier more fulfilling manner, allowing hormonal cycles to flow uninterrupted, increasing the potential to overcome unexplained fertility difficulty, reducing stress hormones and allowing the para-sympathetic nervous system to have a larger role leading to a sense and belief in your well being.

I’m pretty sure these days that I’m heading through my own wood to the mountains beyond. I haven’t quite left the trees behind yet, though. Maybe I need to find a quicker path. That’ll need some thought.

I definitely need to review the plan B situation. I can’t yet tell whether I’m currently running a well thought out exit strategy, or a whether it’s actually unconscious permission to fail. More pondering required.

As for hubs, I’m working on it. Right here, amongst other places. So if you know people who might be interested in reading this blog, why not let them know. And if you write your own blog, feel free to re-blog this one too.

If any of this particular post rings true for you, I’d love to know your thoughts and feelings about it.

And if it’s time to sort out the networks in your own tree laden landscape, you don’t need a Plan B.

Just come and see me.

It's a delicate balance© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

It’s a delicate balance
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

Media virgin? Not any more…

I might have mentioned in earlier posts that I was interviewed by a local magazine ‘Only Peterborough’ about Cognitive Hypnotherapy and the role it can play in helping couples undergoing IVF and other related assisted fertility treatments.

Well, the big day duly arrived and the March issue of Only Peterborough has hit the streets. Lo and behold there I am, smiling in a not-quite-hypnotic style at the readers, encouraging them to find out all about Cognitive Hypnotherapy and, coincidentally, me.

The best bit of all is that I didn’t write a single word! It is all the work of Kim Hughes the magazine’s Features Editor. It goes without saying that I think Kim has great taste and superb insight into issues that need to be aired for the benefit of the local populace, (but then me being me I’ve gone and said it anyway).

The link below is a copy of the article itself reproduced by kind permission of Only Peterborough [available in all good shopping outlets in, you guessed it, Peterborough (UK)]

‘Only Peterborough’ article

As the more astute amongst you might have noticed, I’m quite pleased. Not only (pardon the pun) is it useful from a marketing point of view, it also gives really good information and whether people do choose to contact me or not, this means that they are in a better position than before. Nice one Kim.

So all in all, my marketing campaign has begun, my website and contact details are out there in the inter-web, even appearing on my latest Google Alerts email, (other good search engines etc.):

and… finally…

I am no longer a media virgin thanks to Kim & ‘Only Peterborough’

somehow it all comes together© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

somehow it all comes together
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

Exciting times & the breakfast of champions

So in a way, everything has brought us to this point.

My training throughout last year; the start of this, my first ever blog discussing the weird and wonderful things I’ve learnt; all the way through to graduation and launching myself headlong into a new career as a Cognitive Hypnotherapist: [with actual paying clients, I might add!]

So here I find myself, new business up and running and gently progressing through its soft-launch, as the marketing strategists amongst you might recognise, shortly after my return from a short-break in down-town Marrakech to announce some exciting milestones.

  • My blog has just had its 4000th view: many thanks indeed.
  • My article for Perception Ezine (Spring issue) has been accepted.


  • Today is the launch of my Cognitive Hypnotherapy website!

Here’s the link to Tony Burkinshaw Cognitive Hypnotherapy. So if you have the time and the inclination, I’d love it if you’d take a look. Something I firmly believe in and try to live by is that feedback is the breakfast of champions, so if you do take a look and find that there’s anything you’d like to say, (or indeed that you think I need to hear), please comment in the box below.

It would be great to hear from you whether it’s good, bad or just plain ugly, although obviously I prefer the good! I’ll listen to what you say and may well make adjustments as I go.

Onwards, upwards and perhaps slightly sideways…

Swimming Pool of Kings

Related Article:

Perception Ezine (

Advertising, Pain and Time Travel (

Haggling, Hubbub & Tranquility

Isn’t it odd how you can find peace and relaxation in unexpected places, which when you come to think about it is actually the best time to find them. If you were expecting peace then perhaps it loses value, becoming more of a top-up to an existing tranquillity than a way of unwinding the stresses and strains of a hectic life, especially when the particular hecticity, (made up word, surely), is an unfamiliar one.

And what better location for this experience than Marrakesh, city of a million souls all living life at pace, with traffic following rules that aren’t apparent and appear to be effectively ignored at will, reminiscent of the Black Pearl and the Pirates Code: more guideline than actual rules. The walk from our hotel near the train station, along streets named after kings, throws you into the mayhem in short order with strikers from a nearby Riad drumming their protest to passers-by and onlookers from dawn until dusk and beyond. The main road, Mohamed VI is filled with noisy smoky cars, mopeds by the hundred and the more than occasional donkey and cart ferrying their wares and passengers alike into and out of the city centre.

By the time you reach the Medina walls, you are thoroughly conditioned to hubbub and start to notice the narrowing streets, the non-too-subtle aroma of freshly passing horses passing whatever it is that horses pass into the little sacks strategically slung under their tails. Whilst this no doubt keeps the streets cleaner, it carries the smell of fermenting dung around announcing its presence to give you a warning of the obligatory haggling about to begin for a horse-taxi ride you had no idea was a part of your future.

Suffice it to say that by the time you’ve found yourself seated in a Jemaa el F’na food stall with “Number One One Seven takes you to heaven” ringing in your ears as a waiter convincingly suggests a series of dishes you’ve never tried before and sincerely hope will be edible, (they were, very much so – try it, the food was great and remarkably good value), the noise and pestering for money in exchange for some unasked for entertainment subsides into a background rhythm which gradually lulls you with its gently hypnotic ambience.

Given that the restaurants, traders, and entertainers have been doing this in Jemaa el F’na square for hundreds of years, I found myself wondering whether the music, chatter and scents from the nearby Marrakesh souks have organically evolved to create the exact trance needed to most efficiently part tourists and locals alike from their Dirhams.

Of course our western sensibilities made us more susceptible to the feigned outrage and disappointment that is so central to the well tuned haggle and we dutifully found ourselves being lead ever deeper through the souks by a series of amenable locals who just happened to be going our way until were inevitably led via an non-too impromptu tour of the tanneries to the back room of a happy carpet trader’s shop.

Fortunately by this time we had developed a little talent for turning down fabulous bargains which-we’d-never-find-again-madam-just-look-at-the-fine-Berber-quality and managed to leave with just as many Dirhams as we’d entered with and strangely, not in possession of a Berber handmade carpet. Our guide however was very aware that we were now a long way from Jemaa el F’na and having missed out on his no doubt sizeable carpeting commission, made the most of this to add weight to his haggling.

We left the tanneries both guideless and somewhat lighter in the Dirham department, not much wiser as to how to get back. Apparently we’d haggled too hard for him feel any sense of obligation to return us to where he and his team had steered us off course. Never mind. There’s always a bright side. We saw and experienced parts of Marrakesh we’d have missed otherwise, judging by the complete lack of tourists en route.

After spending the best part of an hour on our first morning planning our day, Mohammed, the only one-legged Grand Taxi driver who seems to have camped outside the hotel since enthusiastically greeting us the previous day, persuaded us, (well, persuaded Richard actually, as it turned out a really good call: nice one), to abandon our plans so that he could fulfil the age-old saying and seeing as they wouldn’t come to Marrakech, dutifully took us to the mountains.

As this post seems to have evolved in part into a tourist guide, (it does get to the point eventually, honest; bear with me), I would highly recommend the Atlas mountains in the hands of a knowledgeable taxi driver. You get far more out of the trip, as does he from the various places he decides you need to see on the way but then that’s all part of the experience isn’t it? If you happen to be staying in the Riad Mogador Opera, wonderfully confused with Riad MacDonald’s by one of our late night taxis causing much hilarity and renegotiation, then Mohammed is for you. The combination of gentle good humour, in-depth knowledge and a desire to ensure you want to use him again the next day, he gives good value and a good opportunity to practice a haggle or two.

So where does the peace and relaxation come in? Obviously there are a variety of cafe’s and restaurants which give cooler distance form the noise and bustle of everyday Marrakesh but for me it came with a trip to the Jardin Majorelle, previously owned and restored by Yves Saint-Laurent. Now this may not be to everyone’s taste, nor would everyone find it quite as relaxing. And really that’s the point.

You see, relaxation or trance induction isn’t a one size fits all experience. This is why you may find that some relaxation CDs or yoga meditations work better for others than for you. You might even find that some of them actually wind you up rather than relax you. Now, I don’t know about you but I don’t like being told how to relax by someone who doesn’t really know me.

Despite the personality reading skills that many Hypnotherapists possess, it’s incredibly difficulty to predict the exact set of images, sounds, aromas and textures which take you into trance of any sort. It’s best left to delicate suggestion, guidance, gauging progress and adjusting as you go. This doesn’t lend itself easily to pre-recorded words or indeed actual experience. Have you ever been somewhere with your partner and found something really relaxing and meaningful only to discover they were completely unmoved and wonder what on earth you’re on about.

Back at the Jardin Majorelle. Ochre-red concrete paths weave through a series of different   beds each planted to reflect different moods dotted with brightly coloured pots, birds singing and scents designed to lull you into a restful peace. Or not.

The first plants are all bamboo and every stem within reach has graffiti carved into it. It’s cooler than outside but feels messy and claustrophobic. To be honest, I didn’t like it at all. The bright pots, blue and yellow primary colours staring at you from the red concrete paths, belligerent and attention grabbing. It was definitely adding to the stresses. Time to cut losses and leave? Maybe. Give it time.

And then a strange thing happens. After you’ve walked around the paths and come to the ponds with Terrapins and Carp, there’s a small open space with paths leading off in several directions around corners to who knows where. There are glimpses of blue buildings. Fifteen varieties of bird sing to each other and the sun hides behind the shading trees. Richard was standing there transfixed. Gill had wandered straight past it and Debbie was nowhere to be seen. Something about this space and the journey into it spoke. But only to one of us.

My place turned put to be just around the corner before the cafe with the camp waiter, where workmen were scraping old bright yellow paint off an urn onto the ochre-red concrete. It lay powdered and sprinkled on the floor for only a couple of seconds before it was unceremoniously swept up and binned. But the colours, shade, textures and birdsong caught me and told me just how relaxed I was, right then, just for an instant. I can still see it. It’s still relaxing.

Gill and Debbie’s best places were entirely different, not even in this garden. Not that they didn’t enjoy it, just that it didn’t speak to them in the same way.

And this is the fine line that needs be trodden in Cognitive Hypnotherapy. Eliciting the exact trance state which will be best for a given intervention at a given time for a particular client is a skill which needs practice and the client’s active participation.

A bespoke trance is the most effective as it targets every nuance of every phrase specifically to the needs of the client in the way that helps it arrive in their unconscious as purely as is possible. This is what makes it so effective, whatever your particular difficulty; stress, anxiety, pain, fertility – and as we Hypnotherapists can’t actually see into your thoughts, hear what you’re saying to yourself, feel what you feel, this not the easiest feat to accomplish. This is one of the main reasons why it isn’t possible to hypnotise someone who just doesn’t want to participate in any way.

So rather than trust to a one size fits all self-help book or generic CD, come and see someone who will tailor the entire experience specifically to you and only you. And seeing as this is Marrakech; “Sir! Your unconscious knows it’s worth every Dirham! This is the best trance in the entire Souk. Do you know how long it takes to become a skilled Cognitive Hypnotherapist? This is a trance we design just for you and your beautiful wife sir! Not to fit anyone else, Madam, it is only for you. Surely you cannot waste this chance! It will truly change your life, Madam. Just try it on, it will fit perfectly! If you walk away now, Sir, Madam, you will only look back with regret…..”

…On the other hand, I launch my new website on Wednesday.

Come and take a look. You might be surprised…

...but was it good for you too?© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

…but was it good for you too?
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

…and Greece makes it 50 !

OK. I admit it. I check my stats every now and then.

Sometimes they’re not so hot.

And sometimes they really make me smile.

Greece has now joined the party that is Posts of Hypnotic Suggestion and I’m really proud to welcome them as the 50th Country to be involved!


Thank you to everyone (2,880 of you!) who has read this blog and especially to those 170 of you who have joined up as Followers. It’s what keeps me blogging.

That and my over-active imagination.

And if you think your readers/friends/tweeters or FB buddies might like what I have to say, feel free to re-blog or share any of my posts. The more the merrier!

...and Greece makes 50!

…and Greece makes 50!

See you soon.


P.S. Since I drafted this post this afternoon, Nepal & Kenya have joined in making it 52 countries, I have had 5 more followers, bringing the total to 175 and I’ve just been informed by WordPress that this is my best ever day for new followers! A good day.

I have therefore dutifully applied the ear-to-ear grin! 

Got a Huge LQG? You could impregnate Pluto

The discovery of the largest structure in the universe is challenging one of the most fundamental assumptions in cosmological thinking so it might just turn out that young Albert, (Einstein not Prince and no I don’t mean the ex-symbol formerly-known-as), didn’t get everything right after all.

It seems that those happy chaps who spend their twilight, (good films apparently according those of the female persuasion, eh Chloe?), hours gazing at stars or as is more usually the case these days, poring over detailed computer generated reports on multi-exposure extra-visual-wavelength observation analyses, have stumbled across yet another LQG, (as you are obviously familiar with, they’ve known about Large Quasar Groups since 1982 and quasar groups of course are powered at their centre by super-massive black holes, thus fulfilling the music reference requirement), but this particular one is more of an XXLQG. So XXL in fact that it’s 4 billion light years across at its longest point. That’s quite big. Too big.

To put this in perspective, sperm cells ‘swim’ at about 5 mm per minute, so in the same time it would take that well-endowed lady the Star Ship Enterprise to travel at warp factor one across the XXLQG, which those self-same sciency boys have named the Huge-LQG, your, your partner’s or indeed donor of choice’s sperm would have been able travel ten and a half billion kilometres. In other words, this magical sperm endowed with particularly massive longevity and oceans of internal reserves would have had the time to swim all the way to the edge of the solar system, impregnate Pluto, (well we are talking about a super sperm here), and then swim all the way back again. Impressive.

I guess that sort of boils down to saying that this largest-structure-in-the-universe thingy is pretty darn big, (I thought I’d go all American for that adjectivisationalism seeing as how I’ve had multiple views from over the pond of late). So big in fact that’s it’s putting pressure on the Cosmological Principle of large-scale universal sameness which Einstein had to come up with in order to allow his other theories to be usable. And as his theories are indeed usable, we don’t really want to just up sticks and walk away from the principle that allows them to work because, as Subir Sakar apparently said, it will make cosmology too bloody complicated if we do. I think I’d agree with him if I actually knew what he was talking about.

So other than the gratuitous reference to super sperm, what does this revelation have to do with this blog and my future career?  Although of course that should read my current career especially as I have, you should be made aware, already dealt with my very first paying clients. Something of which I am truly proud.

So. Here we go. A fundamental principle of science is that it is made up of theories, not truths. And these theories only hold as long as sufficient evidence exists which continues to support them as being a usable working model. Now, obviously as Subir’s comments indicate, you don’t need to throw out a perfectly good working model just because something comes along which challenges it. After all, we still use Newton’s laws, even though we actually know that they’re wrong. They still work and are a damn sight simpler than chucking quantum at everything. They’re just not really real. They’re one of those things that our Mr Pratchett likes to call lies-to-children, may his daughter prove to be as imaginative as he.

All this throws me down two lanes. In a broad sense western medical science, thanks to Rene’s negotiations with the Vatican, doesn’t really recognise the mind-body connection as being a legitimate route through which to pursue health and healing, despite the fact that the placebo effect is a base line for every drug trial which licences medicine as efficacious, (good old Mary Poppins for bringing that word to our attention). So if enough good is done for health in a way which western medical science needs to acknowledge (and it’d have to be too good to ignore as well unless there’s a way for the pharmaceutical lobby to profit from it), then western science will indeed acknowledge it.

Indeed it would have to. That’s what science does, always assuming that the proof can be found and that it’s strong enough to resist the inevitable counter-proofs which will come along. That’s not anti mind-body, that’s just how science works. Come up with a controversial claim and the established science will try to disprove it. Think of it as Darwinian survival-of-the-fittest-theory theory. This is what scientific evolution is all about.

The other lane I’d trundle off down leads all the way to the Quest Institute. Cognitive Hypnotherapy is based on a number of fields of study and expertise. It amalgamates these into models, practices and techniques which every Cognitive Hypnotherapist is well versed in and uses in their daily practice. A key tenet of this field of hypnotherapy is that nothing it uses is the truth. It is simply the current best theory. As soon as there is something better which updates the model, it will be incorporated. If it can’t be incorporated, the existing model would be thrown out and replaced. This stops stagnation. It keeps us all on our toes. It really helps us. It really really helps our clients. My clients.

If something crops up which challenges the Cognitive Hypnotherapy school of thought in a Huge-LQG styley, we’ll have to rethink and regroup. Personally I think that’s fantastic. If you don’t look for and welcome new information to update your view of the world, you end up in a tunnel sealed off from reality. Cognitive Hypnotherapy would become an old and fusty institution, blindly carrying on as it always did. It would simply become unthinkable to change. It’d end up as an opinionated, bogus and disproved therapy living on the edge of quackery, selling snake oil to the tourists. But because of its thirst for knowledge and improvement, it will always be driving forward, staying fresh, even if that means throwing out some cherished models of the past. It’s one of the reason why I signed up to train there.

Unfortunately, believing what you’ve always believed is a survival trait that’s so ingrained in us we’ll do our best to completely ignore anything which doesn’t fit our personal model of the world. Your early years of internal modelling influence how you relate to the rest of the world for the rest of your life.

Your unconscious has kept you safe thus far. It knows this to be true because you’re still alive. And it’ll continue to run its internal programs as long as it believes the theories it laid down as you grew up remain true. It hijacks the mind-body connection and holds onto any stresses and anxieties it thinks are vital to your safety, which is way higher up its priority list than your well-being. Delicate hormone flows get disrupted, muscles and nerves stay on alert. Enter stage left my arch protagonists, fertility difficulties and chronic pain, along with others in the same chorus.

Unless you find a way to break the cycle, then despite the best efforts of your conscious mind, you’ll find yourself living your life always doing what you always did. This keeps you safe and secure, if not healthy and at peace. Of course, as the old saying has it, that means you’ll find yourself always getting what you always got. You might want to change but once you’re in the grip of your unconscious auto-programs you simply won’t be able to see how because you can’t see outside your own private reality tunnel. And no matter how hard the outside world tries to attract your attention, you won’t see it ‘cos your unconscious won’t let you look. So once the stresses, strains, phobias and pains take hold, they can be hard to shake off.

There are many Huge-LQG’s out there in your very own version of the universe. Sometimes you need a specialist to help you see them. And once you’ve seen them, you can decide whether what you always did really did get you what you always wanted. And if it did? Keep going. Your model works for you. But then you probably wouldn’t have sought any help in the first place. Nice one. Keep it up.

But then if your personal Huge-LQG shakes you up, you have a golden opportunity to re-evaluate the most fundamental theories on which you base your life. Learn new truths about old ideas. Start living in the world you really inhabit. Climb out of your reality tunnel and into the light of your universe as it really is. Welcome. To the real world. Good old Morpheus.

If all this theorising is correct, (but obviously not true, if you get my drift), this must then mean that in reality I’ve just spent a year getting a Diploma in Psychological Cosmology.

Maybe I should put my fees up.

a delicate balance© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

a delicate balance
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013