I didn’t know that much about hypnotherapy before I started it – I was hopeful it would help, but felt like probably it was going to be a pretty short-term solution, like maybe I would be ‘hypnotised’ into feeling better about everything, and then this would wear off and I’d be back to normal again. By which I mean, pretty unhappy really, and very preoccupied with the past. And other people seemed to think this way too. When I told my parents, or people I knew socially, that I was about to start hypnotherapy, they were quite surprised that I would be going to something like that. I suppose their reference point was stage hypnosis, Darren Brown and so on. People being made to do something they wouldn’t normally do, for a pretty short amount of time – your brain is tricked into thinking something – and then it wears off. But in fact I’ve been amazed by the really fundamental and long-term changes I’ve put into place as part of this process.

Before starting sessions with Orla I was struggling on a daily basis with anxiety and negative thought patterns. I had a real lack of energy and had very little openness to life, or different opportunities. And I had very low confidence, particularly in terms of trying new things. I was also very much trapped in the past, still framing everything and viewing everything in relation to the divorce I’d been through 3 years previous, and that past relationship with my ex-wife.

Hypnotherapy has allowed me to move on from this and to look forward to the future with really a quite high level of excitement! I have been trying new things and meeting new people at a great rate! I’ve put myself forward for everything from mountain-biking, to trips away, to simple social meet-ups that I would not have organised normally. I am deliberately pushing myself out of my comfort zone and it feels great. Things between myself and my ex-partner are much easier now too – I feel calmer and more at ease around her. I’m not angry or upset about the whole situation anymore, I’ve relaxed about the whole thing to a huge extent, and feel able to leave the past in the past. I’ve also learnt how to detach myself, so that things she says or does currently (or indeed anyone else says or does) no longer has the same emotional impact on me. We can spend time together now – and we have to because we have two small children together – and it’s fine, it’s tolerable. In terms of the kids, I’m a lot more patient with them, which is great, and I think it comes from being more calm generally. Also things with my mum, my dad and my brother are getting better too as I work away on resetting and reframing those relationships. Perhaps I’ll start on things between me and my sister next! And in terms of my working life, I feel much more confident and happy in my current role than I did previously, as well as having lots of exciting plans to perhaps drop down a day and make moves towards a career that would be a better fit for my interests and what I find enjoyable. I  may start looking for more freelance journalism work, or develop my sideline business producing audio books, or perhaps go into working in accounting in a different way where I’d have more freedom than in my current role, and where I’d be working for different kinds of projects and companies. I’m still exploring my options but the future feels full of possibility!

One of the really fundamental changes I’ve experienced as a result of hypnotherapy is the way I feel around other people generally. Before, I’d quite often find myself not being sure what to say, and feeling awkward about that. And then, because of this, I’d often end up avoiding going to a party or even a meet-up with a friend. I turned down invitations a lot, and would hardly ever suggest something myself. And I suppose after myself and my ex-partner split up, one of the things I realised was how much I’d relied on her to arrange a social life for us, and that this had to a certain extent shielded me from my own nervousness around this. Now after the specific work we did on this in the hypnotherapy sessions, I’m in a really different place and everything feels much more spontaneous and natural. I often suggest and arrange meet-ups and lunches and evenings out, and I have the techniques to put myself at ease in these situations. Whatsmore, rather than worrying about going for a drink with someone beforehand, or talking myself out of it, I’ve learned how to actually look forward to it.

I’ve also massively improved my ability to control and deal with negative thoughts, and to use more positive language when describing things to myself,  through techniques that I learned in the sessions and practiced in between. I’ve shifted how I approach planning for the future now as well, as a result of a particular exercise we do in each session – I’m much more open and creative about it now. And when there’s a problem, instead of getting depressed about it, I use all the different hypnotherapy techniques I’ve learned, and I come up with a decent solution. So all in all, I’m calmer, my relationships are better, I’m planning for a wonderful future, I’ve left my social anxiety pretty much behind me, and I now know exactly how to deal with any problem that presents itself. Quite a good result I would say!

(Jason, 41, Accountant)

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