I originally came to hypnotherapy to get rid of an annoying habit I couldn’t seem to shake – of pulling my beard hairs out. The hypnotherapy improved this issue a great deal. However, coming along to hypnotherapy sessions made me realise that there were a lot of things I wanted to change beyond that. For a long old while I’d been stuck in a pattern of just working very hard and focusing on other people’s needs – my clients, my children (aged 2 and 4), and I had kind of lost track of who I actually am as a person – who John is, and what he might want or like or need. There’d been a breakdown in the relationship between myself and the mother of our kids, and I didn’t have much support from her in terms of childcare or household stuff. So pretty much all the time I wasn’t working in my full-time job, I was looking after the kids or doing stuff around the house. And although I’m quite a positive person, and there were still a lot of elements of my life I was enjoying – I love my work and I love spending time with my kids, and I have friends I enjoy seeing and spending time with, and hobbies that I love like camping and climbing – I did feel a bit lost, and a bit fed up at times. There was a generally sense of frustration definitely, and I really wanted to learn how to become more productive and to set achievable goals, and used to listen to podcasts to try and learn about this sort of thing, because it seemed like there was just never enough time.

The whole process of hypnotherapy has helped me to build a framework to approach my life differently. There’s a lot I can’t change about the way things are right now – there just is a lot of pressure, in terms of work, in terms of the kids. That’s not going to change particularly for the next few years at least. But this structure I’ve now built for myself is extremely useful. It includes for example short periods of a minute or two minutes of breathing and visualising distributed evenly throughout my day, and different, more assertive and specific methods of planning what I’m going to do tomorrow or next Wednesday. And this structure has allowed me to approach life differently, with a renewed sense of vigour and purpose. I’m also just being a lot kinder to myself. I’m more able to take a break when I need to, and also to not worry about doing this.

But I’m actually pushing myself more in certain ways too. One of the things hypnotherapy has been great for, actually, has been establishing a firm discipline with myself around food and drinking, which is important to me first of all from a health point of view, and also because it impacts on how I get on when I go climbing. Now, even when I’m out socialising or away with friends I can stick to the diet stuff and stay away from heavy drinking so that there won’t be a negative impact on my climbing in the next day or the next week. Before I would have struggled with sticking with this in terms of doing things differently to people around me, and being worried a bit maybe about what people might think or say. Whereas now I feel like I can just be calm and assertive with people ad stick to what I want to do – I mean I’m friendly about it, but I’m also able to say no. Part of this is a confidence thing I think. I was pretty confident around people before really – I’ve always been pretty sociable. But the techniques I’ve learned in hypnotherapy have helped me to reach another level of this, so that I can now easily approach new people, and not feel the need to hold myself back from this. Before there might sometimes have been times, at a party or at the climbing wall, where I’d have seen someone I’d like to talk to, and for whatever reason, not quite managed to do that. Now I’d just walk up and say hello, no bother. It’s just not an issue anymore – it’s not even difficult, I suppose is what I mean. I don’t have to make myself; I just do it quite naturally.

And this new level of confidence is really handy in other areas of life as well of course. I really feel like I’m getting the most out of all the speaking and business events I attend, through feeling totally at ease talking to everyone, and not feeling any pressure, or any need, to drink too much for any reason. In terms of my own personal and home life, I’m feeling a greater sense of control, agency and direction there as well. I’ve already made small changes, in terms of being more assertive and standing up for myself, and creating more space and time for the things I enjoy and that do me good, and I feel that I have the skills now to plan for a future that will work for everyone.

(John, 35, Dentist)

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