Theory into practice
"I can't stop eating junk food." "Can't drive on the motorway alone." "I can't cope without a drink." Therapists often hear statements like these.
The mindset that produces such negativity can be challenged – and changed – through hypnotherapy. Contacting the therapist and agreeing to an initial consultation is a sign that you want this change. Attending the first session is setting change in motion.
By helping the client to relax deeply – before offering the subconscious mind positive suggestion – the hypnotherapist is facilitating further change. Your negative mindset no longer seems so fixed. Things seem to be happening already.
After three or four sessions, you'll hopefully feel ready to apply for that job, stub out that cigarette, or take a road trip alone. It is at this point that anxiety often strikes back. On the eve of a party your head starts to sweat - at the thought of all those people: "Perhaps I will have one drink, after all."
Hypnotherapy helps counter this anxiety. You will discover how to access calmness and unlock your own inner strength: You do not need alcohol. One drink is one too many.
So you feel anxious? That's fine. You are fine. Everything is going to be all right. This is the time to put theory into practice. To "feel the fear and do it anyway". Whether that means going to a party and remaining completely sober, beginning the process of filling in a job application, or walking on past that tempting looking takeaway.
At this point therapy may well uncover "Secondary Gain". Secondary Gain is the name we give to the hidden benefits attached to continuing your problem behaviour.
"I'm no good at interviews" means you stay stuck in your old, badly-paid job - indefinitely. But it might also mean that you get to stay with your friends - in the old team. "I can't stop eating junk food" means that you never lose weight, even though you use the gym once a week. But being bigger might mean that you get noticed more often. Extra weight equals extra presence.
In uncovering hidden motivation for not changing, therapy can help you to decide whether you really do want to make the change. Remember - real change is always difficult.
You will still be able to see your friends - even when you get that new job (you might make new friends, too). Extra weight might get you noticed - but is this really what you want? What sort of presence might you have when you do lose some weight? Only one way to find out.
Hypnotherapy can help you to identify, understand and ultimately overcome your anxieties around change. But only you can stub out that last cigarette, or press Send on the job application.
Only you can decide whether to turn theory into practice. And practice into a new way of life.
 Susan Jeffers
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About Tom Bailey
Tom is a hypnotherapist and counsellor with his own practice in Chorlton, Manchester. Specialisms include smoking cessation, overcoming performance anxiety and beating addictions.