Patterns of Anxiety

Algorithms; where would we be without them? Even though I know my mind is constantly firing off its equivalent complexes and striving to effect a cause, I still get caught out every now and then. There I was, having just vacuumed the hallway as you do pre-client, duly noting how there was no loss of suction in the way we’re primed to do by the no-so-young Mr. Dyson.

So far nothing out of the ordinary.

At exactly (and I mean exactly) the same time as I unplugged it to take it upstairs, the downstairs extractor fan stopped. Working on algorithmic autopilot, I found myself switching the socket back on to check that it hadn’t become the power supply for the extractor fan. Of course there is no connection but that doesn’t stop that still small voice of pattern hunting certainty from telling me that the extractor fan was now broken.

The really odd aspect of it all is that all the while, my Cognitive Hypnotherapist mind was telling me what was happening, even down to which algorithm was firing and which past experiences were colliding to form the triggers.

It made not one jot of difference.

Through trivial example, my Unconscious mind insisted on demonstrating how it tries to make sense of my universe. Needless to say, I defused the new pattern and laughed myself quietly free of a potential worry over miswired domestic circuitry.

It is from such misconstruances and misconnections that all manner of anxieties, fears and superstitions come into being. Coincidence isn’t something we’re wired to see. Cause and effect reasoning is much more persuasive. After all it gives us a far better narrative. Gods, demons and superstitions are born of such stories.

Mostly though, the connections are innocuous and leave us feeling just a little silly or out of sorts. Occasionally they are bold and brash and insidiously convince us that life is dangerous and filled with disasters waiting to happen. Herein lie the precursors of depression and anxieties; fears and phobias; destructive habits and negative self-talk.

So if you worry that something awful might happen or you’re frequently nervous, anxious or on edge, it might be interesting to unwind the patterns and triggers of the past and find yourself stepping out into a future happiness you didn’t think existed.

I’d be more than happy to be your hypnotherapeutic guide.

Anxiety, Stress, Depression, hypnotherapy

Effective connections

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

Resolving to change. Better?

Its appears that all the work I’ve been doing these last many months in order to create an effective background awareness is beginning to bear fruit. The balance is shifting.

New clients are finding out about me and more importantly, getting in touch. Training is beginning to shift towards Learning: Who you are affects how you Learn. It seems obvious when you think about it but until you think about it isn’t. People are beginning to think. I’m even coaching and therapising (made up word) via Skype as I have long hoped to do. It really is coming together.

There have been some really tricky issues to help client find their solution to. It’s challenging and very rewarding.

And sometimes amusing. The capacity of the human brain to find sideways metaphors to communicate with itself is astounding. Imagine sitting in the therapist chair as a client opens their eyes and smiling hugely, declares:

‘You will NEVER guess where I’ve just been! I’ve just been in a wheel-barrow, being pushed across a high-wire strung perilously above Niagara Falls by a world-famous hire-wire dare-devil!’ [With kind permission of the client]

Why? To learn trust, apparently.

And who was the world-famous hire-wire chappie? Jesus! Well why not? After all, He’s probably got a great sense of balance and a head for heights. And not a bad teacher, by all accounts.

And the truly astounding part? The client came up with the imagery entirely unprompted. That’s the fascination with non proscriptive hypnotic language. It frees the client to work with their own imagination. It’s incredibly powerful. All it takes is a carefully crafted and somewhat skilfully applied nudge in the right direction. Nudge theory? Maybe.

You’ll no doubt be aware that a slice of the work to create fertile ground to enable clients to think of me when they need help is my monthly mental-health well-being column in one of our city magazines, ‘Only Peterborough’.

January’s article focussed, a little traditionally perhaps, on that phenomenon of New Year Resolutions and why some work and others don’t, sometimes because the timing is wrong or the resolution is just too big. Sometimes they fail because of a lack of support through the inevitable self-sabotage that goes hand in hand with best intentions.

Here’s what I had to say:

Changing for the Better               

It’s that time of year again. Christmas and New Year have been and gone, the fun and festivities are over and the world is full of opportunity. It’s the traditional time to start afresh with life-changing resolutions, which some go on to achieve with envy-inducing ease.

But for many of us, New Year’s Resolutions fade away into best intentions and we carry on just as we were before. So why are some New Year Resolutions successful whilst others fail?

Perhaps it’s the type of resolution you choose. Adding good habits can succeed more often than stopping bad ones. Maybe this is why the most popular 2013 Resolution was reading more books but stopping smoking was only 26th.

Another trick is sharing the effort. To change a habit, your free-will has to wrestle your Unconscious mind. Given that your Unconscious controls your habitual decisions, this is a tough fight! Exercising with a friend or taking that lunchtime walk with a colleague can make all the difference, sharing the mental effort as well as the Resolution.

Be precise. If you want to ‘lose weight’, how much do you need to lose? By deciding to ‘lose 10 lbs in 4 weeks’ you can measure your success. If you only manage 7 lbs, that’s success too. Think of it like passing with 70%. All progress is positive.

The key point is this: Your Unconscious uses habits to keep you safe or bring you comfort and it really doesn’t want to change. So if you don’t keep your New Year Resolution, it’s just that your Unconscious stills needs to be convinced that you’re right. If this you, then the support of someone trained to help is invaluable.

And once you look, you might be surprised at the help you can find.

See you soon?

RELATED

Only Peterborough magazine: website

Tony Burkinshaw Cognitive Hypnotherapy: website

Learning Coaching: What’s it all about?

Hypnotherapy MP3 Downloads: Pain Relief; Migraine Relief; Healing; Relaxation; Mindfulness

If you want to talk to me or ask any questions about what I do, please feel free to email me at: tony@tonyburkinshaw.co.uk

hypnosis mp3,

Next Steps?
© 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

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

Pain & Hypnotherapy. What’s the answer?

I’ve been having long distance virtual conversations again. People have started asking me interesting and searching questions. I like it. It keeps me on my toes. Grounded.

Occasionally stops me waffling.

Dawn, of Finding My Inner Courage fame, asked one which cut straight to the heart of what I do. It sounded so simple…

“Could you please explain to me how hypnosis works with chronic pain?”

‘Ah, one of the difficult ones’, I thought, paraphrasing Wen, enlightened figment of Terry Pratchett’s fertile imagination.

This was either going to involve writing my first book, (quite a good idea actually but perhaps not just yet), or would really test my ability to be succinct. You may have gathered that I tend to pad my prose with sideways off-shoots as they arrive in my head whilst I type. What I sent her was quite a good summary of this complex subject and I thought it might be worth sharing.

So here is my bite-sized reduction of the totality of the Chronic Pain Experience and how Hypnotherapy addresses it:

There are two parts to this: How does ‘pain’ happen and How does Hypnotherapy address this?

How does Pain  happen?

In essence, pain is the result of lightning fast calculations that your brain makes as a result of the totality of the many sensory inputs it has. This includes your nerve impulses, hormonal communications, emotional state, and your unconscious thoughts/feeling/beliefs (which are internally created sensory inputs).

Your brain uses these to assess your current situation and various potential future situations and makes decisions about your current and future safety, particularly with regard to the potential for physical damage.

Pain is an alarm which your brain can choose to trigger (PLEASE NOTE: this is not a conscious decision or choice – it is automatic. You can’t consciously choose not to feel pain!). Your brain will only decide to trigger pain if it assesses that you are in danger AND that pain is the most appropriate alarm to use. (Think about soldiers in mid-battle, athletes in competition, parents whose children are in danger – all have been known to suffer major injury and still function without pain – The pain comes later, if at all).

Pain is essentially an attention-grabbing alarm. It stops you in your tracks and insists, (very loudly), that you do something to protect yourself.It is vital to survival.

When you feel pain, your brain increases the sensitivity of the nerves which indicated the damage. It wants to know as much as it can, quickly.

It triggers healing & protection responses (inflammation, muscle tension etc.). These in turn can trigger increases in sensitivity.

Important: You should always seek medical advice if you have persistent or unexpected pain

The pain alarm can misfire in two ways:

  1. The sensitivity fails to reduce when the healing process has completed. The brain misinterprets increased sensitivity as increased damage and increases the sensitivity yet again to be sure it knows as much as it can about the damage. Instead of gradually lowering the threat level, the alarm hyper-sensitises itself and sets up a vicious circle. You keep feeling pain because you keep feeling pain because you keep feeling pain…
  2. If your environment is threatening, your brain’s base level for alarms is set very high anyway. You are constantly on high-alert. You get very jumpy about injury and so feel pain much more quickly than ‘normal’. A key point here is that your ‘environment’ includes how you feel, so if you feel bad about yourself. (limiting beliefs, self-loathing, lack of self-worth, lack of love etc.), your brain treats this in the same way as a physically threatening environment.

How does Hypnotherapy help?

Essentially hypnotherapy works in 3 ways.

  1. It uses hypnotic trance to temporarily convince the brain that it is safe. As an example, ‘Dissociative Trance States’ dissociate ‘you’ from your entire ‘body’ or just the ‘part’ of your body which hurts. This convinces your brain that the threat is longer relevant to ‘you’. You now feel no pain. This is really effective for hypnotic anaesthesia. It can be dangerous to use these techniques in isolation because pain is an essential warning tool. 
  2. Hypnotherapy can be effective in the longer term by addressing the perceived level of threat in your environment. This can be either by helping you discover resources which give you perceived control in a physically threatening environment or by addressing any deeply embedded underlying personal issues as discussed above. This reduces the environmental threat level and ‘resets’ the sensitivity of your pain alarm to normal levels.
  3. Hypnotherapy can re-connect the mind and body, which Western Society believes to be separate. This allows you to bring some control and guidance to your natural healing ability and to focus this healing on those areas which have been injured or damaged. This is effective in long term pain relief because healing actually does improve AND increases your unconscious’ sense of control, reducing the need for a pain alarm to be triggered. Essentially, if you are already dealing with the threat, your unconscious doesn’t need to remind you of that threat. (This is one of the reasons that toot-ache often stops once you sit down in the dentist’s waiting room – you have already taken the action needed, so the alarm stops).

I thought this worked quite well as a high-level walk down the road I travel and it’s a different style of post than I usually do, although as you can tell, I couldn’t completely resist the chatter.

Let me know what you think. I

It might be worth writing some more of these.

Related:

Hypnotherapy mp3 for Relief for Chronic Pain Conditions

Hypnotherapy mp3 for Migraine Relief

Hypnotherapy mp3 for Healing & Relief Pre & Post Surgery

Hypnotherapy mp3 chronic pain migraine

You say that’s safe?
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

The WordPress Family (Award)

 

wordpressfamilyaward

Shaun started this award on MARCH 4th 2013 and has had well over 1000 ping backs when someone Awards this to someone else.

It simply represents the WordPress Family and especially the support that exists out there within WordPress. Words have power.

So I am now going to Award the 10 newest people/friends who have followed my blog and welcome them to my ever-expanding WordPress circle.

Celebrate. It’s fun.

Rules:

1. Display the award logo on your blog.

2. Link back to the person who nominated you.

3. Nominate 10 others you see as having an impact on your WordPress experience and family

4. Let your 10 Family members know you have awarded them

5. That is it. Just please pick 10 people who have taken you as  a friend, and spread the love

10 Nominations for Award 

1. http://fivequickminutes.wordpress.com/

2. http://nzfiend.wordpress.com/

3. http://trueheartforreal.wordpress.com/

4. http://allmostrelevant.com/

5. http://mybitchinblogspot.wordpress.com/

6. http://radiatingblossom.wordpress.com/

7. http://threewiseguyspodcast.wordpress.com/

8. http://glamlifeofme.wordpress.com/

9. http://stuffitellmysister.me/

10. …and this is Shaun:  http://prayingforoneday.wordpress.com/

As he says, “More Love, Less Hate”

I agree.

The G8: Depression, Anxiety and Pain

There are clear blue skies with a scattering of little fluffy clouds, if you remember the lyric. I’m on my way to London and I’m on a Quest. Not to join in with the G8 protests that are rumoured to be taking place later on I hasten to add, although to be fair those at the protesting end of disaffection may have a point.

Any system which allows one aspect of its whole to dominate is likely to run out of balance and ignore the more subtle insidious effects. Current westernised systems predicate success on producing and consuming more this year than last and will find it hard, in my opinion to carry on forever unchanged. There are some (many) entities, be they people, corporations or governments whose sole raison d’être appears to be generating vast wealth and concentrating the benefits in the hands of their chosen few.

Sure there are some in times of plenty, who appear to have a genuine concern for the society they inhabit and do to some extent at least attempt to spread the benefits. Unfortunately we aren’t living in times of plenty.

Let’s face it, survival of the fattest dictates that every now and then the system requires a readjustment so that smaller less wealthy individuals and businesses fail and make room for the others to take up more space. Even banks like a severe market downturn. Think it through, the best time to buy into investments is after a crash when the best thing to do is mortgage everything to the hilt and bet everything on Red at rock bottom prices. After the bottom, the only way is up. Isn’t it?

You’d think they’d seen it often enough to know. Good times don’t last and the re-adjustment comes.That’s what went wrong last time. The boys and girls at the top had seen the good times for so long that they began to believe young Gordon with his end of boom and bust rhetoric. By the time the downturn came and it was time to place those well-timed bets, they’d already mortgaged the world and were standing on massive losses.

We suffer the consequence. The news alarms scream Recession Recession Recession and we all feel the fear. Jobs are lost and services cut. Only the vital ones stay intact and even they’re threatened. Recession. Feel the fear. Don’t rock the boat. Don’t take risks. Stay the course. Central control knows best. Feel the fear and protect what you have. Hunker down until it’s all over. If it’s all over.

Have you noticed that more recently,  every time there’s any bad news whatsoever the alarms go off again? They don’t even wait for a Recession this time. They just scream (There Might Be Another) Recession. They don’t wait to find out if we are in danger again, they just shout anyway. Just in case. The economic alarm sensitivity has been turned up higher and higher, so high that pretty much any negative news sets them all off again. Keep feeling the fear.

We stop spending because we might lose our jobs. We allow our pay to be cut and hours extended because we need the security. Banks won’t lend money in case it’s lost. Businesses fold because the banks won’t lend enough. We lose our jobs anyway.

The economy needs money flowing through it to survive but we hoard ours under beds and in banks and banks hoard theirs because central banks tell them they need enough to survive the next crisis. The banks don’t lend enough. Meanwhile, those betting boys and girls at the top have made more fortunes while the market recovered and are happily awaiting the next downturn so they can make more. The system is still unstable and the alarms keep going off. No-one really understands what happened and no-one really knows what to do. No-one can be sure it will get fixed. The alarms keep going off.

If only we really knew what was going on. Maybe we wouldn’t need to feel the fear.

Maybe we could turn off the alarm.

There are striking parallels with what goes on inside our body/mind. We are a delicately complex balance of systems all interlaced and running for Growth or Protection depending on our current environment. We evolved to gather and hunt. Our Growth and Protection systems, miraculous though they are, are behind the times. Evolution hasn’t evolved to keep up. Events in the past as well as the here-and-now determine which systems predominate. If you’re lucky, the predominating systems keep you in physical, mental and personal growth. More often than not, it’s the reverse and the trigger is for Protection.

Remember, our environment includes what’s going on in our bodies. We treat social danger with the same safety systems we do a physical attack although we miss out the part where we actually flee or fight. The adrenalin stays and drips fear into our lives.

Feeding the stronger, more demanding aspect of our bodies, especially the key Protection mechanisms leaves the less vocal but nonetheless vital aspects of our internal selves starved. They kick along well enough in the good times but when the going gets tough, they give in and scream their alarms. Your life hits the stress buffers and dives into panic, depression or pain. Without attending to the whole, the system crashes and screams its alarm to get your attention.

If you’re in the right place at the right time all you have to do is re-assess what you see in your life and flick the switch to reset the alarms. If it’s safe, you jump back into back into growth as soon as the debris has been cleared.

Sometimes though, it’s so confusing you can’t see what you’re looking at, can’t hear yourself think. The alarms are set so high that absolutely anything sets them off. The reset fails and sensitivity stays high. Panic, Depression, Pain. It just doesn’t seem to stop. You can’t see through the fog that’s filling your thoughts.

You might find you need someone who knows how. Someone who can show you how to reset the system; how to unbar the windows and unlock the doors; re-wire the alarms so that the sensitivity drops to normal and you can finally see what’s going on out there.

Show you that you’re back and in control.

Show you how to heal.

They need alarms...? © Tony Burkinshaw 2013

They need alarms…?
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

I say tomato…

I’ve come to the conclusion that the Airport trances you get these days aren’t as entertaining as the Airport trances we used to get when I was younger.

It’s possibly because they’re actually of a better quality than the good old bad old days of routine delays and lost luggage. Not that the age-old art of random air-transport delays has been completely lost because Mykonos was still good enough to subject us to that old fashioned routine of getting us to accept a short thirty minute hold up which then gently eked itself out into a whole hour by the time we’d managed to actually board the plane.

The pilot, who had apparently been too busy to introduce himself in that customary EasyJet style eventually threw the real delay at us once everyone was safely strapped down into their seats and we were patiently waiting for take off. He even went so far as to thank us for our patience with the delay we’d just experienced before casually lobbing a further ‘We’ve just been informed that due to the delayed departure our next available  take-off slot is just over an hour from now’. Why did they have to wait until we were safely locked on board the fully fuelled aircraft? Ah well; extra helping of boredom here we come.

It turned out though, that the tactics being used were really to lull us into a false sense of the inevitable. I was waiting to use the toilet, as you do when trying to fill a random hour with nothing to do aboard a sealed Airbus 320, listening to the cabin-crew manager not-so-gently quoting rules at one of the cabin staff who’d been collared by an angry American lad concerned about missing his connecting flight to Scotland from Luton.

I’d happened to chat to the same lad in the departure lounge as the first delay was being re-announced in order to clarify the actual time of postponed take-off. The announcement was in crystal clear Greek-English right up until the bit which mentioned the new departure time which appeared to be at ‘tri-tompty’. Needless to say we were slightly confused. Especially him as he was really trying to work out whether he’d miss his connecting flight with which he had carefully crafted a very neat and somewhat tight ninety minutes from an on-time landing.

He was trying to keep the delay as low-key as he could so as not wind up his partner even further, seeing as he’d already quite successfully embarrassed her by having his cabin baggage thoroughly searched at Security by forgetting he had a litre of Ouzo stashed in one of the inner pockets thereby mildly breaching the 200 ml maximum fluid limit. The last thing he wanted to do was let onto to her that any substantial delay would bring about an unscheduled overnighter in Luton airport by this disruption to his delicately balanced connection plans.

As I was learning during my lavatorial queuing, EasyJet small print recommends an absolute minimum of three hours between scheduled landing and connecting departure times or they happily, and by the sound of it, gleefully, wash their hands of your problem.

As his luck would have it, this was the point where new style delay tactics met old and the captain happily announced that he’d secured an immediate slot for us and would everyone return to their seats. Time for me to hold on, if you get my drift. The relief belonged to my American acquaintance and I’d just have to wait a little longer. In the bad old days, we’d probably have sat through the full hour, had another delay slide itself in and probably a failure of the cabin air-conditioning to add sweltering heat just for good measure. But that was then. This is now.

These days with advanced computing and corporate fear of fines and squeezed profit margins, aircraft slot manipulation generally copes with everything except terminally bad weather. You just can’t beat the wrong sort of snow to bring an airport to its knees, can you? (That was a tag-question, just in case you’re interested). These days, airport trance generally seems to err on the side of good-natured boredom rather than the angrily stressed out multi-delayed trances of yesteryear’s holidays with small children.

Mind you, come to think about it, Gill and I now have the luxury of being able to choose our holiday dates more or less as we please and therefore have tended to choose flights which are less likely to have children on board. Don’t get me wrong here, I like children. I’m even told I behave like one every now and then but there is a time and a place and cooped up on a small aircraft is not a child’s natural Habitat, (a store which I think has lost its touch by the way, the designs seem to be trying too hard, if you know what I mean).

So perhaps airport trances haven’t changed after all, although I suspect the quantity of mega-delays we’re subjected to has tended to diminish over the years, unless of course you’re an avid watcher of any of the many flies-on-wall docu-dramas which thrive on passenger-airline conflicts.

The thing is, I think I’m experiencing the same airport lounge scenes as everyone else. I use the same language, the same descriptions, quite likely some of the same airports and airlines but the same words are being used here to describe different personal experiences. I say what I mean but this gets heard very differently because my co-conversationalist uses a different frame of reference to decode my meaning into their version of the reality.

We got know a couple who were holidaying in the same place as us in the last week. Nice people. We were staying in the same hotel over the same week, having travelled, as it turned out on the same flight, so part of what we discussed in our trivial holiday-maker way was our return trip home. Same airport; same airline; same destination. I thought we were on the same wavelength until I realised that they were going to leave the hotel a whole hour before we did, just to make sure.

They’d been talking about the small local airport and its small check-in area, small security and small departure lounge, as had we. It turned out that to them, this meant it would extremely congested because of its lack of space, so making check-in delays inevitable. I’d been talking about exactly the same words but thinking that we would be through check-in really quickly as there wouldn’t be the usual hustle and bustle of more active and sizeable airports.

Same language, different meanings.

This phenomenon threads its way into many therapy scenarios and is one that I’m constantly on the alert for in the conversation between my clients and I. I’d just taken my eye off the conversational ball, so to speak because I was on holiday.

This phenomenon is why Cognitive Hypnotherapy takes such care in uncovering not only the client’s underlying issues and solution states but also and in some ways more importantly, the actual words that each client uses to describe those states. After all, it’s irrelevant which words I’d choose to use and if I want to be able to talk meaningfully with a client’s unconscious mind, it will have a far more precise understanding of what I’m talking about if I use its very own programming language. This is why a thorough Consultation is such a key part of accurate therapy.

This is just one reason why Cognitive Hypnotherapy can be such a brief therapy in comparison to others, some of which apparently expect clients to buy into many months, if not years of working towards a solution.

This is why, if an interim recording would prove beneficial for a client, each one gets a specifically written bespoke download, tailored to each individual, using their words. No two clients would get the same.

This is why some chronic pain sufferers may hear ‘Cognitive-based pain-management’ as simply dismissing their pain as ‘its-all-in-your-mind’. Indeed, I’ve come across practitioners who’ve misunderstood their own training in the same way. To me it simply means this; Pain is very real but the mind is very powerful. Perception can be manipulated. Pain can be relieved.

This is also why some relationships founder, despite both partners trying really hard to understand each other. The same words are being said but different personal reality decodes the meaning into something else.

And this is especially why so many issues have their roots in childhood. Not only is language and experience drastically different between a child and an adult, (particularly a parent; I recall leaving hospital as a first time father feeling completely different to the man I had been when I entered many hours earlier), but children also perceive the world in very dualistic terms. Things are either right or wrong, good or bad, on top of which evolution has  programmed them to believe that the world revolves around them. It’s how evolution ensures they survive such a long period of parental dependency. It’s why children can seem so demanding. They are. Pretty much everything a child sees or hears or experiences is in their mind entirely to do with them. This is why seemingly innocent comments or incidents can have such long-lasting effects.

This is why Cognitive Hypnotherapy can be so very effective and it’s why I’m choosing to spend the rest of my life using it to help clients.

And this is why, if your life is telling you that somehow, somewhere, something’s wrong, you just might find that Cognitive Hypnotherapy is exactly what you’re looking for, (but in your own words, of course). 

Why not get in touch? I’d love to hear what you have to say.

Mum's not in... © Tony Burkinshaw 2013

Mum’s not in…
© 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