In this section:
Assertiveness Skills Training - Weight Loss Hypnotherapy - Relaxation Skills Training - Resilience Skills Training - Exercise/Fitness Goals Training
This is a very broad section based on a number of the insights and lessons learned through practising, ongoing study and feedback from clients and contemporaries. Hypnotherapy is not just about what it removes (like anxiety, a phobia or a damaging pattern of behaviour) but also what it can give. It is not unrealistic to be unsatisfied simply to not struggle but to actually excel, to rise-above, develop and master things which don't necessarily come naturally. This is achievable and hugely rewarding.
Assertiveness Skills Training
Assertiveness comes at number one in the list of great life-skills to improve. The general public perception of assertiveness, whilst not incorrect, hardly does this vital concept justice. The classic examples people think of regarding assertiveness are along the lines of sending a substandard meal back in a nice restaurant or challenging a stranger who has cut-in to the queue ahead of you. These examples do require an aspect of assertiveness but it is so much more than that.
Assertiveness is nothing less than the ability, and the consistent action, to give voice and expression to how you feel at the precise moment you feel it. This applies for positive or negative. If someone has wronged you, you tell them right at the very moment it happens without intervening, complicating over-thought. If someone's company is enjoyable to you, you say as much as soon as think it.
It takes a while to grasp what this is all about but once the value of this approach has become apparent it can be applied to every aspect of your life. This is the key to living an 'authentic' life. It changes your perception of the world around you and your relationship with it. Others will notice the difference and warm to the new you.
Best of all this kind of assertiveness training is a wonderful antidote to anxiety. When practised correctly this kind of assertiveness cannot coexist with the anxious mindset and the negative is replaced with the positive.
So much of what is written and said about 'diet' and weight control is detrimental to the task at hand. The idea of moralising and 'shaming' when it comes to weight has become normalised. From the outset there are a few principles to establish: There is no body shape that is more, or less, shameful or virtuous than any other. Body shape has no moral dimension whatsoever. Neither does any of the food we eat. If you have eaten a small salad for lunch you have been neither 'good' nor 'bad'. The same is true if you had a large slice of cake - you have not been 'naughty', you just had some cake. It is entirely inappropriate to assign a moral code to things which exist outside of moral consequence. It is time this link was broken. One of the main reasons so many people get frustrated with trying to lose weight is that they fall into a classic trap, resulting from such judgement: go for a two mile jog ('good' behaviour) rewarded with a muffin and a latte ('naughty' but justified by previous 'good'), resulting in calorific surplus. Or, just as damaging: have a sweet snack between meals, feel bad and angry because of this 'sin', less likely to stick to exercise goals, more likely to commit further food 'sins'.
This key is to remove counter-productive morality from the equation. Nobody owes anyone else their body shape and there is no food in the world that is 'naughty' to eat.
In addition it is time to revert the word 'diet' back to being a noun rather than the verb it has erroneously become. No-one is 'dieting'. Everyone has a 'diet'. If you wish to lose weight it may very well be wise to shift to a diet that you will stick to indefinitely, not a diet that you cannot bear to stick with beyond two months. Thus you will be free of the curse of 'dieting' for life.
Relaxation Skills Training
It may seem counter-intuitive that specific training is required in how to relax but it is clear from the work I have done in this area how truly necessary this can be. I use some aspect of relaxation training with all of my clients and their response to the experience is generally extremely revealing. We assume that we have the ability to relax at will and do so daily but it is only when time is taken to use specific relaxation methods that we realise that this is not the case. True relaxation feels immediately distinct from what we are used to. The restorative effects can be profound both physically and psychologically.
The skills that are learned with this training are of use in the short and the long term. The methods and procedures will be of great benefit for years to come.
Resilience Skills Training
One of the first things that sparked my interest in hypnotherapy came about as the indirect result of working in the City during the economic crisis of 2008 and its aftermath. The industry changed massively in a relatively short space of time and from a position of confident profit-making the environment suddenly became fraught, panic-stricken and far less certain. What fascinated me was the diversity of the responses to this change, particularly from those in senior managerial positions. Some found the change in circumstances intolerable and clearly struggled to cope. Others seemed immune to its stress, rolled with the punches and found news ways to adapt and ultimately to thrive. All were under similar pressures yet some had a resilience that others lacked.
The concepts and approaches that are key to this resilience can be analysed, learned and adopted. We have a genuine choice of how we respond to external forces. We can learn to be one of those people who not just survive, or pretend to be ok, but truly and serenely thrive in high pressure environments.
Exercise/Fitness Goals training
In little more than a generation the active participation in activities designed to improve physical conditioning or even obtain the ideal body has increased from a fringe interest to a societal norm. Whole industries have sprung up in support of this, new foods introduced to the popular diet, kitchen appliances launched to prepare them, new branches of media developed to cater for the fitness-conscious and a whole network of 'revolutionary advice', usually of a spurious nature, to disclose 'secrets' of achieving a flat stomach or swollen pecs etc.
The secret is there is no secret. For those wishing to obtain the physique of the fitness models the first thing to know is that even the fitness models don't look like that (most are by now aware of this). The next thing to know is that small tweaks to an already pretty-much optimum diet won't make the difference advertised and this new type of exercise routine won't deliver the results promised. The less exciting reality is that there is nothing new under the sun. What works is hard work, consistency and a sensibly designed diet that is broadly adhered to.
This may initially sound like bad news, but it is actually good. If consistent hard work and eating sensibly are not currently things you find yourself able to do then it's time to learn. New patterns of behaviour can be learned, adopted and become the new normal for you. Focus on the behaviour, you take care of what you do. When you do that the results you want are inevitable.