Overcoming our limitations using hypnotherapy

As a child, I struggled to spell. Despite my mother’s protestations around me being stupid, I would often answer, “But I can’t help it”. She always said I’d have that phrase on my tombstone. I can remember thinking to myself, “I’m not stupid, and I know this because I get top marks in maths”.

I was about nine years old, so that’s quite a self-aware judgement to make. It changed the direction of my life because I decided to only focus on the subjects where I didn’t need to write. What makes me smile now when I look back, is that these subjects such as maths, physics and chemistry were subjects she did not know about and so she could never help me with homework.

It wasn’t until I was at university studying architecture, did I find out I was dyslexic. Finally, I had a reason. I could have played that card my whole life, but I ended up as a graphic designer and graphic journalist, surrounded by people who wrote for a living. Although I still avoided writing, I felt my English improved as if by osmosis. Thanks largely to technology - spell checkers and grammar checking software, I finally found ways of overcoming the problem.

About the time I was training as a hypnotherapist, I had a run-in with a colleague at work - Sarah - because of the quality of information she passed on for me to create adverts. Standing before the MD, she told me Sarah had made a complaint about me because I was discriminating against her because of her disability - dyslexia. The MD was a little taken back when I burst into laughter and explained I too was dyslexic. 

I explained it wasn’t dyslexia that was the problem, but the way we looked at it. I saw it as a problem which I sort out a solution, whereas Sarah just saw it as a problem.

This goes for many things in life. The expression making a mountain out of a molehill springs to mind.

When our mindset is open to change, we can seek solutions to problems. When we have a closed mindset, we have already told ourselves we are powerless to make any changes.

Mindset is a difficult thing to pin down, where did it come from? As an eight-year-old, I made the assumption adults knew everything. This assumption collapsed dramatically one day at school when I was told off by a teacher for wasting school resources - I was painting in the style of Jackson Pollock. She had never heard of the American artist. I went home and ranted to my mother about the incident, and she calmly explained that not all adults know the same information.

After learning that very important piece of information, I tested my assumptions and found that I was often wrong. It was OK to be wrong; they were moments of great learning.

How does hypnotherapy help people overcome their limitations?

I am solution-focused, so we concentrate on the goal and work out ways to overcome the blocks which are stopping us from reaching our full potential. Understanding where these blocks came from can bubble up during a session or later on. During hypnosis, the critical part of the mind quietens and opens the mind to possibilities. Using suggestions and metaphors, the part of our mind which questions our motives with a “yes but” can change the way it sees things.

I recently worked with a client who was having a problem with a colleague. They co-managed a department, and she felt that her colleague always got her way. After explaining a bit about behaviour and asking her some more questions, she suddenly realised that the colleague was a very anxious person, always needing control. By changing her approach, the client could negotiate decisions much more easily because her colleague wasn’t always on the defensive.

By reframing what we want to achieve into a visualisation as well can override our limiting beliefs, “I can’t” becoming “I can”.  We see ourselves carrying out the positive behaviours, looking confident, standing up to others, not being afraid. In my case I visualised myself as writing and publishing a book, the result was “Driving me crazy - overcome the fear of driving”.

The power of hypnosis and visualisation to change one’s mindset is a significant shift in thinking for many people. It can help overcome bullying, help get promotions, stand up and talk in front of others and give you the courage to find another job - the list is endless.

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Written by Penelope Ling BA DHP SFBT CBT SFBTSUP - Supervisor

Penny Ling is an experienced solution-focused hypnotherapist specialising in fears, phobias, anxiety and confidence-related issues. Supervising hypnotherapist from different schools and locations. She is an author, was editor of Hypnotherapy Today, and has appeared on BBC radio and local TV. Penny has featured in Happiful magazine amongst others.… Read more

Written by Penelope Ling BA DHP SFBT CBT SFBTSUP - Supervisor

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