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The cynical Muddy tries hypnotherapy…

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Look into my eyes, not around the eyes…

Hypnotherapy, hmmmmmm. I’m hardly what you’d call a cynic in most areas of life, but when you’ve had a humiliating experience in front of the whole of the student union at Uni (I had to pretend to be hypnotised because it was too embarrassing to own up when everyone else seemed to be in a zombie like trance), you learn to be a little mistrustful of some things. Since then, I’ve never really been a believer in hypnotism and its power, but hypnotherapy is a more holistic branch of the same tree (the clue’s in the word ‘therapy’!) and I know various people who have used it to quit fags, stop eating chocolate – seriously!- and also help with anxiety issues. Caroline Prout based at her home treatment room in Thrapston, is the real deal, a fully qualified clinical hypnotherapist recognised by the National Council for Hypnotherapy, the UK’s leading not-for-profit hypnotherapy professional association (yes people, it exists!).

Caroline (part of the Inspired to Change group) works with men and women from all walks of life (children too) who have been suffering from stress and anxiety or who feel they have lost their way in life. Often a fear, phobia or addiction may be holding them back and stopping them from moving forwards or sometimes people don’t even know how they got to this place in their life. They know they aren’t happy, but they don’t know what to do to make things better (a feeling I’m sure we’ve all been through at some point) .

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Hypnotherapy works really well for stressed out students

Caroline kicks off with science and reason (always a safe place in my eyes), and she simply talks through how the brain works. She uses a diagram to illustrate how when we become anxious or stressed we’re turning to our primitive brain as opposed to our intellectual brain, and this is not the place to be if we want to feel positive vibes (which is why when we stop, breathe and think calmly about situations, we can often see a way through). It was a really interesting session that also highlighted how we may sometimes find ourselves at odds with friends, colleagues and partners (we all know that overly moody/emotional person who kicks off at the slightest provocation? Well cut them some slack, they’re just using their primitive brain)! But seriously, this section of the therapy really informs you on how and why our brains jump to panic mode, and even if you just did this hour, it could help you change learned patterns and responses (I suffer from early morning anxiety, and it has really helped me).

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The sciency bit

Caroline didn’t rootle around the murky corners of my mind with a full blown hypnotism – who knows the tangled horrors she would unleash? – but we did try a deep relaxation session, and I have to admit I was seriously surprised; it was a mega meditation. I’ve been going full pelt with work and kids for the last six months, and it really felt like permission to stop, let my body relax into a kind of spineless mush and tell my mind to stop spinning. I sat in Caroline’s lovely chair, all comfy and inviting, got myself settled, closed my eyes and listened to her voice gently saying lots of positive things. No sinister swinging watches or any of that malarkey, lights flicking on and off, or incantations that my purse was weighing me down spiritually and could I please just pass it gently over?

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It doesn’t exist if there’s no word cloud

Hypnotherapy is very different to a massage, where I find my mind still tends to wander towards work, or ponder how long I have left to go before the treatment ends, or try to guess which bit of my body is going to be worked on next. It’s a much deeper relaxation for the mind, and for someone like me who finds it hard to stop making lists, or multitasking five things at the same time, it was a relief to still my mind for half an hour. It really worked.

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A classic stock shot to illustrate mood ; )

I didn’t go in with any serious issues for Caroline – it was more to look at what she does from an objective point of view and report back on Muddy – but I really believe that with repeated sessions this would work effectively (it helped in just the one session to understand why our brains work in the way they do – fight or flight etc – and how to change our thought patterns.). At this time of year (exams) she does a lot of work with children and teens, and I can see how it would really help them. Also, with the quiet environment and the legitimate excuse to ‘let go’ I can really see it helping those in highly-stressful jobs dealing with everyday life/anxiety without them feeling weak or having to go through talking therapy.

Caroline used to suffer from anxiety herself, before finding hypnotherapy and retraining, and is very passionate about what she does. She uses a solution approach and focuses only on the future and how we can achieve positive outcomes rather than dwelling on the past. She uses a simple five step process which can turn people’s lives around in as little as six weeks. She helps her clients to understand why they are suffering the way they are, helps them to set positive goals for the future, helps them to identify and undo any negative behaviour patterns that may be holding them back and create positive new behaviour patterns and habits to lock in for permanent change.

It was all fascinating stuff; even now, a couple of months after going, I use the primitive and intelligent brain example when I start to stress about something. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t work every time (WHY OH WHY WILL THE 15 YEAR OLD INSIST ON HAVING EVERY GLASS IN HIS ROOM), but on the whole it really does press a pause button before you leap to a conclusion. So Mudsters, if there’s something that’s making you anxious, or you just don’t know why you feel a little…meh, give Caroline a call. And let me know if you use her and how you get on (anonymously if it’s awkward), knowledge is power, let’s share it and help make the world a less anxious place!

Caroline practices from her Thrapston therapy room in Northamptonshire, but Inspired to Change Hypnotherapists are based across the UK in Peterborough, Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire, Safron Walden, Devon and Kent. If you would like to find out more about how hypnotherapy can help you click here to find your nearest therapist and book your free initial consultation.

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