Weight Loss By Hypnosis

0.0 Introduction
0.10 New Behaviour Generator technique for weight loss
0.38 Hypno-Gastric Band technique – I studied it …why I don’t like it
1.05 The Orbera Balloon Medical Technique for weight loss
1.45 The Virtual Intra Gastric Balloon technique

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Alan Patching, with another edition of Transforming Minds.

I’ve got a few questions about the last blog, particular the New Behaviour Generator technique, used in reaction to weight loss.

Now, there’s no question that hypnotherapy can be quite helpful in assisting the behaviour of change. Of course, certain weight loss at certain levels requires medical supervision for sure. But the New Behaviour Generator can work.

For example, there are some hypnotherapists who’ve come up with a technique where by people imagine, very clearly, in hypnosis, that have had gastric band surgery and, after that, they eat a lot less and do experience weight loss. Now, I thought about that technique for a while, and I thought that it’s not a bad idea. However, it did involve some things I didn’t like. If people have to imagine going under ,r they have to imagine surgery, that could have a negative reaction for them and I thought, ‘that’s not a smart move’. And at that point I had read about a fairly new technique at the time, called the Orbera Balloon technique where, in real medicine, a tube would be inserted down the throat under just twilight anaesthetic or sedation – not deep anaesthetic – and would be inflated with saline solution in the stomach. So now the stomach could consume or couldn’t hold so much food before a message was sent to the brain saying it was full.

So it didn’t involve surgery, it didn’t involve clamping the stomach or anything like this. It was a different approach. And I thought, ‘well, maybe this approach has a basis in hypnotherapy’.

So I thought I’d test it with a few clients – and got some good results. So as a consequence of that, we put out a product called the Virtual Intra Gastric Balloon.

If you want to get move information on how that works, you could go to; www.weight-loss-by-hypnosis.com and you’ll find all about that technique there.

But the new behaviour generator and other hypnotherapeutic techniques can be very powerful to assist someone who’s committed to weight loss, to giving up smoking, to sleeping better and to a range of other problems.

So don’t discount psychotherapy and hypnotherapy to help you with emotional problems, weight problems, and a range of other problems.

I look forward to giving you more information on another post. For now, I’m Alan Patching. Thanks for watching.

Re-programming yourself for better life performance-using techniques that champion athletes use

0.0 Introduction
0.22 New Behaviour Generation (NBG)
1.15 What you can use NBG for
1.36 The stages in the process
5.40 The Future Pacing aspect of the technique

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Hi, Alan Patching here with another edition of Transforming Minds, and this time we are going to be responding to a question.

I’ve had several questions from people asking about how athletes re-program themselves to do better, and I mentioned about how we can use it in therapy as well.

Well, the technique is generally called New Behaviour Generation, and it works on the principle, as I mentioned in a previous blog, that the mind really can’t tell the difference between reality and vivid imagination. So, provided we imagine something clearly in positive terms and there’s no threat associated with what we are trying to replace; in other words, if the brain says, ‘well, this new programming you are giving me, it seems safe enough compared to what I am currently doing’, it will simply allow you to replace it with this new imagined process which will become part of reality. And the Olympic athletes have known that for ages.

Now it will not allow you to do something that’s dangerous and outside your capability, and if the brain thinks there’s a threat associated, or the threat remains with this new behaviour,it won’t allow you to change behaviour. So there’s a limit on where it can be applied. But for things like cutting down on drinking, changing attitude, responding more slowly in terms of becoming angry … and things like that, it can be a useful therapeutic technique to use in association with other therapies.

And it’s pretty easily done, but normally best done with the help of a therapist.

The steps are as follows:

  1. Relax yourself as much as you possibly can. Listen to a relaxation tape, use progressive muscle relaxation or whatever; self-hypnosis is great if you know how to do it.
  2. Secondly, imagine yourself sitting in a theatre, with the screen up in front and you creating a movie, you are the only person in the theatre
  3. Thirdly, choose your favourite actor or see yourself in the movie if you like, and create a movie of this person up there on the screen, doing what you want to do exactly the way you’d like the be able to do it. So being calm in the face of something that might trigger anger. Rejecting a drink, one or two, or whatever it might be.
  4. The fourth step is then, having made the movie over a period of 35 seconds, to replay the movie several times, but as you replay it, you’re going to get an experience of the movie. Now, what do I mean by that? Replay it the first time, watching the actor do it exactly how you construct it. Next we replay it again but imagine floating into the actor’s head and seeing what he or she sees as he or she does what you want to be able to do instead of what you are currently doing.
  5. Now allow the movie to be able to go back to the start again and be in the seat watching it at the starting frame, play it again but this time, float up into the actor, look through their own eyes and see what they are doing but also get a sense of what the actor’s hearing, the self talk that’s going on in their head as they manage to do what you want to do … like reject too much drink, reject the wrong foods … or whatever it is you want to be able to do as part as the therapeutic process.
  6. Finally, replay the movie again, float up in and as well as seeing what the actor is seeing in this movie scenario, and hearing the self-talk of what the actor is hearing, get a sense of the feeling the actor is having, how good they feel being in control of the situation.
  7. Now this point, roll the movie back to the start and freeze frame it there and allow yourself to go into a state of mind where you remembered clearly a time when you felt very confident and very self assured, or whatever feelings you’d like to have at the time when you do what you want to do in your new behaviour. So for example, if someone is offering you food of the wrong type and you want to feel confident and strong in saying, “no thank you very much”, think back to a time in life where you felt very confident and strong in some actions you took. Now, when you do that, go back into that scene as if you are reliving it, looking through your own eyes, hearing through your own ears and feel those feelings of strength of confidence come back, when they do, form a gentle anchor by squeezing two fingers together or gently squeezing a fist. Do that three or four times and when you’ve done that, go back to the scene, replay the movie again, but this time we do something completely different. As we replay the movie we let the screen disappear, the actors move towards us, we move towards them – there might only be one person – and you change roles, almost like a Steven Spielberg fade in – fade out. You take the role of that lead actor doing what you want to do, rather than what you have been doing in relation to the behaviour you are trying to change, and as you take the role that the actor’s done, play it out exactly as the actor did, squeeze that fist (or those fingers) and bring forward those very powerful feelings of strength and confidence and, as you watch the scene, feel the strength and confidence you feel as you say ‘no’ to the wrong food, or reject a extra glass of wine after one or two, or whatever it is you want. Now having done that, you feel nice and strong and confident in the situation, now imagine yourself in a situation similar to one in the past where you’ve accepted the food and wished you hadn’t, or taken a cigarette and wished you’d hadn’t, or whatever it was. Replay it – a new version of that scene – firing the anchor and feeling the confidence as you say ‘no’, and reject that extra food and notice how, in your mind, the behaviour has changed for that sort of circumstances.

    And then, go out and enjoy life and notice the behaviour you can change for the better.

Now, is this going to work for deep seated mega-emotional issues? No!

But for small behavioural issues, it can really make a difference in your life. It is a powerful technique. Give it a go, all the best.

I’m Alan Patching, see you on a future post. Bye for now…

More on the Fight or Flight response

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Alan Patching back with another addition of Transforming Minds.

One of the most commonly asked questions that I’m faced with is, ‘tell me about the Fight or Flight response’.

Well in past posts we’ve talked about the reaction of the Limbic Hypothalamic System to perceived dangers that may or may not be real dangers. Quite often these aren’t as bad as what we perceive them to be, and the fight or flight response is simply the response we get to that, so by the process we’ve talked about before, the amygdala gets the adrenal glands flooded with adrenaline and noradrenaline, and we experience certain physical characteristics or symptoms and this is what they are:

  • blood pressure goes up
  • heart rate goes up
  • quite often we sweat
  • we may feel nauseous and
  • we may feel a tightness about the throat.

These are the main symptoms. Now it feels pretty awful when a group of these happen, and if they all happen together, it can feel terrible. But, you want to know something? For the most part, it’s your body acting absolutely perfectly. Let’s just explain to you why that’s the case.

Well, first of all, it’s called the fight or flight response for the reasons we discussed in previous episodes. It goes back into our history as human beings where we are either fighting an animal or an invader or an attacker or we are running away from it.

The other part of it is the freeze response where we just hope … with the dear in the head lights look … if we just stop and don’t move, maybe they won’t see us. And a lot of animals you will see on nature shows do that as their primary response mechanism.

Now, how does this all work?

Well, once adrenaline hits the body it makes the heart rate go up and the blood pressure increase. Why? Because fighting or fleeing takes a lot of energy so we need to make sure that the blood pressure is up and the heart is pumping to keep the oxygen going to keep our body functions going so we can fight longer, run longer, or freeze more effectively.

What about the second one we talked about? And that is the sense of sweating. Well, when we run or when we fight the temperature goes up, so by making our body sweat, particularly in the arm pits, behind the leg, the lower back maybe down here in the chest, what that does is sets up the circumstances where evaporation can take place and evaporation causes cooling. So that’s preparing the cooling system on the body so that again, we can continue to fight, run or freeze longer. It may not feel good but it is effective.

The next thing is that we may feel nauseous. Why is that?

Well, the body over the years and over the century has learnt to take the blood away from the vital organs of the stomach and into the peripheral limbs like the legs and the arms. Three reasons this time;

  • one is so we can fight more affectively with our arms and feet
  • two is so we can run more effectively with our arms and feet and
  • the third thing … if an animal did get us, then mostly (going back in history) mostly they are going to go for the soft part of the body first because other animals are going to come and fight over the meal that’s available. So the guy who made the kill and the animal that made the kill is going to be very, very quick eating at the soft organs first. Similarly, if you’re having a hand to hand combat with someone it’s a lot easier to get a knife or a spear in those soft organs first so we evolved as knowing it isn’t a good thing if we are being attacked there first. So it’s an interesting part of human development to see what’s happening there.
  • Now, the other thing we mentioned was a sighing where we sort of go “uuuuh, haa” the reason for that is the body knows that we need more oxygen to be able to fight well or run effectively, so it gives us a tightening around the chest and throat that makes us need to go “uuuh, haa” and breathe in … so doing it super oxygenates our body.

So the next time your having an anxiety attack or a fight or flight response, spare a few minutes to realise that it may not be comfortable but it’s your body working absolutely perfectly.

Now if you want more information on this and a more detailed description, you can go into the free resources part of our website here at www.tranformingminds.com and I’ve prepared an e-Book called Getting A Grip On Anxiety that’s available completely free and you can download from the site whenever you like.

For now, thanks for watching, I’m Alan Patching. Bye

Flight Or Flight

0.0 Introduction
0.15 The Limbic Hypothalamic System of the human brain
1.00 The Fight, Flight or Freeze response
2.11 Exercise in Awareness
3.25 Threat or Safety separation function of the Limbic system
4.18 Survival Response or State Dependent Memory
5.32 the brain wants to keep us safe – to help us survive situations

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Hi everybody, Alan Patching back with another edition of Transforming Minds, and in this edition we are going to be looking at the Limbic Hypothalamic System. It might sound scary, it’s not!

The LHS is the fancy name for the reptilian part of the brain and it deals largely with emotions. But effectively, what it is about – is it’s about survival. In very simple terms that part of our brain divides every experience into one of threat or safety.

If something is experience by that part of the brain as safe, it won’t even bring it to conscious awareness. However, if it’s a threat, it will act to protect us again out of conscious awareness. So, the first we notice, is that it’s already active and we notice that because we feel anxiety from the flight or fight response in our body.

So let me explain how this happens. In the old days our great, great, great, great, great, great grandfathers were out hunting for lunch, really, in that environment it was either they’d kill an animal for lunch or they would become it’s lunch. So whenever they faced the danger of dealing with an animal they had a couple of options. You’d either stay and fight the animal, kill it and bring it home for lunch – hopefully not becoming its lunch, or you figured this one is a bit big for me and I’ll be it’s lunch so I need to hightail it out of here …. so they’d just run.

That’s the flight, first one was fight, second one was flight. Or perhaps if they ere in the jungle or something and they figured, ‘whoops, this one’s a bit big – the best thing would be just freeze and hope the animal doesn’t see them’. So we call that the fight, flight or freeze response. Now, whenever they did that the body would go through a series of steps to help them deal with whether they were fleeing, whether they were fighting, or whether they were freezing. So we are going to explain how the fight or flight system works, physiologically in our next blog post, but for now, let’s just stay with LHS which triggers all these things off.

If you do a little exercise now and were to take a little time, turn the video off here for a moment and just close your eyes and you could be aware about the moment and you can do that easily even as I speak. So close your eyes for just a while. I will still be here when you come back and just with your eyes closed you can notice things like the weight of your feet on the floor, or the weight on the chair or whatever you are being supported on. Notice that, apart from my voice, there are other sounds around you and that might be air conditioning, external sounds, sounds of friends or family around you, that perhaps you weren’t aware of before. You can be aware of your clothing and how some of it gently touches your skin and other parts are a bit tighter … like for example a belt or a bra strap or something like that. You could be aware of jewellery you’re wearing …like a watch, maybe a pair of spectacles. You can be aware of the temperature of the room, and any breeze or any air movement on your face.
Now all of these things the Limbic is constantly picking up – but you may or may not be paying any attention to it. But if any of these things were a danger, it would very quickly bring to your attention. So when picking up all these things every moment of the day, non stop, the limbic part of your brain is simply saying, “that’s safe, that’s safe, that’s safe, don’t even let her know about it, don’t even let him know about it,” and so life goes on. But if you have a fear of a spider and something that remotely looks like a spider crosses your path and your peripheral vision, your limbic will immediately fire off your adrenal system of your fight or flight system and you will have the reaction of anxiety decided before you are even aware that the spider is there. And a lot of study in the area was done by an American guy called LeDoux in the early 1990s.

So in affect we’ve only got about 20 years of experience of this level of study in this part of environment and technology. Now here’s how things work, it’s really interesting. Once we have a reaction to something that we may or may not have been scared of in the past, the brain says, “let’s become efficient here” and, for example, if I was used to speaking in public very confidently and something happened during a presentation like the lights went off or I lost my Powerpoint slides or whatever, I am nervous about that and I’m feeling nervous the whole way through, when I get to the end of that, the brain will say, ‘he survived that speech by having a nervous reaction to what happened’, so next time he needs to give a speech I’ll help him survive that by bringing that same nervous reaction forward, and all of a sudden you’ve got a developed fear of public speaking.

This part of the mind is so efficient at helping you survive in fact it’s called the ‘survival response’. Sometimes it’s called ‘state dependant memory’ or even ‘imprints’ which I even think is a better name.

So the things that occur that cause anxiety and we survive through that in the way the subconscious mind imprinted, and that becomes ‘automatic tapes’ that apply when we are in a similar circumstance in future … because the brain wants to help us to survive and the easiest way in emotional logic to do that is to repeat the same feelings you had last time you had that experience.

It’s a fascinating part of the brain technology but sometimes it can lead to circumstances where you are having feelings where they are just not necessary because the danger you originally reacted to wasn’t as real as you deemed it to be and now the reaction is the same as it would be if you were like your great, great, great, great, great grandfather and were faced with an attack by a sabre tooth tiger.

We will talk more about the brain and how it works in terms of our every day in future sessions, for now I hope you found this interesting.

Looking forward to seeing you on future sessions, I’m Alan Patching.

A Good Hypnotherapist

0.0 Introduction
0.05 Hypnotist, hypnotherapist, or hypno-psychotherapist?
0.21 The hypnotist
1.12 The hypnotherapist
1.41 The hypno-psychotherapist
1.55 Training levels
3.34 How do you choose?
4.50 Where to get advice

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Alan Patching here – back with another edition of Transforming Minds, and in this session we are going to address the matter of choosing the therapist for you.

In this sense I am talking about between a hypnotist, a hypnotherapist and a hypno-psychotherapist … and they are very, very different. Let’s explain…

A hypnotist is someone whose experienced and knowledgeable in hypnotism. They could be a stage hypnotist, or a clinical person, but essentially their main training is about putting people into a state of hypnosis or guiding them into a state of hypnosis. A hypnotist, per-se, may not have experience in using therapy, clinical therapy within the state of hypnosis.

Indeed, in the United States virtually every State differs in who can and cannot call themselves a hypnotherapist, so what I’m doing on this blog is largely for the Australian and, to an extent, the British observers or watchers of the blog.

So, here in Australia, the hypnotist is someone who is skilled at putting people into a state of hypnosis but may not have extensive – if any – therapeutic skills.

An Hypnotherapist, on the other hand, is someone who knows the skills and competencies of hypnosis but also has learnt an amount of therapy. Now, that could be as limited as dealing with cigarette smoking, dealing with weight and dealing with stress management or it could be far more comprehensive. It’s very, very important that you are careful in choosing a hypnotherapist because of this point, so I’ll come back to that in a little while.

Now, ‘hypno-psychotherapist’ is a term you’ll see used more in Australia but probably without good reason in a lot of cases. The term comes out of England and let me give you an idea of the English basis for it. An hypnotherapist in England would need to do something in the order of 600-700 hours of face-to-face training and it’s much the same in Australia – between the 500-700 hours of face-to-face training that the various (professional) associations would require and as I said we will address that more towards the end of the blog.

An hypno-psychotherapist in England is required to do 2,000 hours of training and that also requires a number of hours of self-therapy. In other words, you have to undergo psychotherapy with a trained and registered therapist before you can be called a hypno-psychotherapist or a psychotherapist. In addition to that, they have to undertake a fairly prolong period, 75 hours, of supervised training in the British system at a rate of 6 to 1. So, in other words, to get registered, you’ve got something in the order of 450 practise hours in which 75 have been under supervision of a qualified clinical supervisor, as I am. So, these are the distinctions: I know of no course outside of Universities in Australia that gets anything like 2,000 hours face-to-face training and most University courses don’t go close to that either. So, the term hypno-psychotherapist, which is someone very skilled in hypnotherapy and very skilled at practise and credited in psychotherapy is pretty much a British concept.
So, how do you choose? Well both the Australian Hypnotherapists Association and the Australian Society of Clinical Hypnosis have quite rigid standards about who can be a member and in both cases there is an ‘associate’ level of membership which requires roughly 150 of face-to-face training and those sort of people would definitely be equipped to help you with relaxation for stress, smoking problems, with weight management problems and certain other minor disorders.

Now, clinical or professional membership of both those organisations requires about four times that face-to-face training and these people will be more skilled in dealing with advanced therapeutic concerns.

As I said, the British system goes into a far more extensive training that isn’t available anywhere in Australia and in fact, the training I did constitutes 50% of a master’s degree and with accreditation from British Universities. There’s nothing in Australia in the diploma or advanced diploma areas that goes anywhere close to that. That’s sort of training equips people to do hypnotherapy and psychotherapy across a broad range of counseling psychotherapy as a stand alone, and to combine the both of them on a integrative basis.

So, if you need some advice on who you should be seeing about your particular problem why not visit the websites of the Australian Society of Clinical Hypnosis and/or the Australian Hypnotherapists Association. And, of course, the AHA runs the full registration of clinical hypnotherapists in Australia, so you can find out someone in your neighbourhood who is registered and able to help you from the AHA website. I hope that clarifies the differences for you.

I look forward to seeing you on another blog post, really soon. Thanks for watching, Alan Patching. Bye.

Using Anchors

0.0 Introduction
0.35 The ‘anchoring’ process
1.06 Everyday life examples
2.09 Anchoring as an every day experience – routine
2.45 Using anchoring with progressive desensitisation
3.15 The ‘what if’ game and its effects
5.00 Summary

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Hello, Alan Patching here with another post for Transforming Minds.

In our last couple of posts we’ve looked at phobias in particular as one of the key five anxiety disorders, specific phobias we call them, and we’ve looked at progressive desensitisation in a physical-like sense and also being used as a hypnotherapeutic technique. Now, I did mention in our last post that we’d talk a little bit about using anchoring together with hypnotherapy to help you with the overcoming of phobias. Let’s have a little look at how that works.

Now, anchoring is simply the process of using some trigger from one of your senses and for our example here, because it is very common, we are going to talk about a physical trigger or what we call a kinaesthetic trigger, like squeezing the fist gently or squeezing the fingers together or whatever. So, connecting that in the subconscious brain with a physical response such as relaxation.

Now, it’s nothing fancy – its quite simple. I’ll give you a couple of examples: We had mentioned the stop sign or the stop light; you see it while you are driving, it happens automatically. You don’t say, “Oh, there’s a hexagonal sign that’s red it’s got white around the edge, it’s got the letters S, T, O, P so I need to raise my foot and put it on the brake… You simple keep chatting to whomever you’re with and thinking whatever you’re thinking in the car and you come to a halt.

Think about being in a shopping centre or an airport, where it has a moving walkway or escalator and when we step onto those things we just naturally change our balance and it’s a matter of course. But if you step onto an escalator one day and it’s not moving, or moving walkway that’s not moving, you’ll find yourself tripping and losing your balance. Why? Because your brain automatically adjusted for the balance expecting that the escalator or the walkway was moving and when it’s not, you trip.

So, you’ve had an automatic response to the visual trigger of the escalator, but it was not required in this case, because it wasn’t moving but still, you tripped. So, anchoring is something that you do in everyday life. You get dressed in pretty much the same order everyday. Put the same leg into your undies or your pants or trousers first and it feels weird if you do it all the other way around. Your watch is on the same wrist pretty much every day. We put our jewellery on – and if we are women (or men these days as well) or makeup… whatever … In pretty much the same order every time, it’s just subconscious and routine.

What we want to do it establish another subconscious routine between seeing or experiencing something that used to upset us and having relaxation.

Now, we’ve talked about the progressive desensitisation to reduce the anxiety effect, but what happens if you’re still having some affect, when for example, on the flight?

Well, the concern is of course that the human brain is different from the animal brain, in that a bird just knows how to be a bird and a dog just knows how to be a dog. If a cat gets a fright it jumps up, looks around and goes “Oh, nothing to worry about” and just plops down and goes to sleep again. We don’t. We get our charge and we go, “What if it got worse, what if this did that?” and we play the WHAT IF game and the what if game leads to rumination of all these disastrous possibilities in the future, which raises that somatic feeling – those feelings of anxiety in our body – and then we’ve triggered the cycle again.

So, we need something in addition to our hypnotherapeutic progressive desensitisation that allows us to come back quickly, and that’s where we use the technique called anchoring, which is just taking the principle behind stopping at a stop sign or adjusting our body for when we move onto a walkway and using it when we want to use it.

So, what we do is, during the process of helping people to relax to deal with these phobias, we get them to squeeze their fist gently when they feeling very relaxed. We train them to relax themselves using progressive relaxation or self-hypnosis and at their deepest point of relaxation to form a link between that state of relaxation and a physical trigger such as squeezing the fingers together or gently squeezing a fist. And by building that up and building it up and building it up, a person can quite quickly get to the point where they are feeling a little bit stressed over anything and they can fire that anchor and very quickly calm down and relax again.

Once they are at a good level of proficiency through practice, they can go on their flight with a much-reduced level of anxiety to the phobia of flying which is the example we’ve been using ,but it applies to most phobias. And then when they are there, if there is some sort of reaction, instead of going into the WHAT IF game, they can fire off their anchor and they have a pretty good chance of bringing things into a manageable range of feeling and anxiety.

It’s as simple but, in a sense, as complex as that. So if you need some help with this go see a good hypnotherapist and psychologist or psychotherapist and I’m sure they will be able to help you out with the technique. And the next blog will be about helping you to make a decision about who you should see, and I’ll look forward to seeing you then.

For now, I’m Alan Patching, good bye.

Vivid Imagery

0.0 Introduction
0.22 Progressive desensitisation
0.45 Example of progressive desensitisation
1.41 The importance of relaxation in the process
2.10 Associating relaxation with various steps in the process
2.56 What if time is an issue – introducing hypnotherapy to the desensitisation process
4.00 The brain, vivid imagination and reality…the secret of the Olympic athletes
4.42 THE concept of an ‘anchor’

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Alan Patching, back with you with another edition of Transforming Minds and this time we are going to talk, as promised last time,about ‘progressive desensitisation’.

Okay, there are basically two ways this can be done. We mentioned flooding in the last blog, so we won’t re-address that, but desensitisation is quite the opposite of flooding.

Flooding is simply exposing the person who has a problem to the very cause of the problem until the brain learns not to react to it; rough going, but very effective when done.

Now, progressive desensitisation is about breaking up the thing that concerns the person into little steps, so that they address it one step at a time. For example, someone who might have a fear of flying. They might break up their steps, it doesn’t matter how many steps, but let’s just say they’ve got 10 steps, and the first one might be thinking about taking a flight. The next thing might be booking the flight on the internet. The next thing might be confirming the flight a few days before they go, followed by packing their bags. Next might be moving out to the car, next arriving at the airport. Next, you’re going through the check-in procedures and so on, and so on, until they are on the flight taking off comfortably.

Having decided the steps and the processes the idea now is to get rid of the automatic mental reaction through the Limbic Hypothalamic System of the brain, but we will talk about that later. To the thought of flying and having an anxiety response … and the way that happens is we get the person to feel really relaxed in each of those steps.

So, if we were doing this in reality, in real time, we would say, ‘okay, what we want you to do is to think about going on a holiday looking at the positive sides of the holiday … being calm about it. Be on the internet; don’t make the booking until you are very relaxed. Just allow yourself to relax, think something nice and calm and relax and then make your booking. And if you get excited during it, just stop for a while and think of something calm’.

So we try to associate relaxation with the steps and the process, starting at the smallest and moving up to the largest, and indeed there are many organisations who offer around the world flying preparation for flights to help people with phobias by taking them to the airports and watching the planes and doing exactly what I am saying in this broken down matter. But any psychotherapist or psychologist can help you through that process. … physically associating relaxation with the various steps that you put together leading from a very low level of anxiety associated with flying in the particular instance up to the highest level.

So as you collapse the lower levels of anxiety the levels become less of a problem. Now, all well and good. The problem with that is that it can take a fair bit of time and you may not have time before you need to travel for a family or business experience. So this is where the world of hypnotherapy comes in.

Hypnotherapy fast-tracks the progressive desensitisation process. Hypnotherapy puts us into a very relaxed state and we’ve visualised things in our mind so once again the process is the same in terms of looking at the steps from a very low level of anxiety associated with air travel in this instance, to a very high level of anxiety associated with it, and you put them in a hierarchy.

Hypnotherapy puts you into a very relaxed state and has you visualising and clearly imagining going through broader steps and the higher order steps … right through to whatever your highest order step is, in a very relaxed state.

So, by associating relaxation with the act of flying and preparing to fly rather than anxiety, hypnotherapy allows desensitisation quickly, and it relies on a couple of things: first thing it relies on is the fact that the brain in general can’t tell the difference between vivid imagination and reality. Athletes have been using that for ages. Athletes know what their personal best is and yet they vividly imagine doing better than that and the brain clears any blockages (if there’s no threat associated with that) and if it’s within the realms of human possibility to allow them to achieve higher.

So this principle that the brain can’t tell the difference between vivid imagination and reality is very much at play in the hypnotherapeutic approach to progressive desensitisation.

Associated with hypnotherapy is the prevision of what we call an anchor. Now we all have anchors in our life and we’re going to talk about them in another blog post. But I’ll give you an example. You come to a stop sign … you just stop instantly. You don’t think about it, because you’re conditioned to do so.

So we are going to talk in our next post about how you can combine an anchor with the hypnotherapeutic approach or any other approach to dealing with a phobia such as flying or a phobia of speaking.

So don’t miss that post. I’ll be back with you in the next couple of days. Thanks for watching, I’m Alan Patching.


0.0 Introduction
0.18 Anxiety generally
0.52 Specific phobia
1.16 2 ways phobia tends to develop
2.29 Phobia that develops over time
3.03 Learning fears from significant others
3.30 The flooding technique
4.30 Flooding and discomfort
4.47 Progressive desensitisation
5.03 Summary

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Hello, Alan Patching back with another post for Transforming Minds, and this time again we are following questions and comments made by followers of the blog – and this is from my past series on the blog, and one of the most common questions I’m asked is about anxieties.

There are basically five key areas of anxiety with several subtypes, and the reason I say several subtypes is because in the previous diagnostic manually put out by the Americans there were something like 198 mental disorders and now there’s 365, so clearly we are getting specific in the sub-categories etc.

But for most parts of the world of anxiety specifically, there are five specific different types of anxiety.

Now, one of those types is called ‘specific phobia’, and I’m probably getting more questions about phobias than on any other aspect of psychotherapy. People are sort of saying, ‘how can I get rid of phobias quickly?’ And the answer is it is possible with certain techniques from the world of NLP and Hypnotherapy, but it really gets down to how you got the phobia in the first place.

Now, in my experience there are two basic ways a phobia will develop. It will either develop very quickly from something that happens in your life – out of the blue – and you instantly develop the phobia of that thing. For example, if you had a fear of heights and you used to climb a ladder or something and you didn’t have a problem, then one day someone took you to a high rise building and you looked over the edge and it was just so much higher it was scary. Or maybe you were on a flight, which is a common one, and it went through some turbulence and up to that time you were fine flying but all of a sudden you felt, ‘oh my God, I don’t want to fly again’ … because the rest of the flight you felt you might be going to crash or whatever.

Public speaking is another one. Used to be able to speak in public and all of a sudden something went wrong and after then, you lost it and felt very nervous every time someone mentions speaking in public.

Now in that sense you learn the fear very quickly so – not guaranteed – but it is possible certain with Neuro-linguistic and hypnotherapy techniques that you can unlearn the fear quickly. And not everybody in the field of psychotherapy and psychology generally learns these techniques.

They are specific hypnotherapy and NLP techniques and they can be very effective and have had some very good results.

More likely most phobias, I think, tend to develop over a period of time. It’s said that we are born with two basic fears: The fear of falling and the fear of loud noises, and it’s a bit strange because you see the father with the child throwing it up in the air and catching it and the child gets caught and smiles and the dad says, ‘oh it’s having a good time’. But really the kids going, ‘my God – thank God I got caught because I had a fear of falling.’

So we get that one wrong.

But there are many other fears that we learn and it’s possible to learn them from other people, so for example, if your mother or father or close adults in your life show a fear of spiders or snakes of whatever, we might very well develop that same fear because we are learning from that early stage where there are authority figures in our life and our critical consciousness hasn’t developed to the point we can challenge it.

So, in the case where you’ve learnt that way and sometimes for quickly learnt phobias, normally there’s different techniques for dealing with it. And one technique that I get asked about a lot is called flooding.

Flooding basically says you expose yourself to the very thing that caused the fear and eventually the fear will be extinguished. Now, the theory behind it is quite simple. It’s simply that when we develop a fear for something it creates in our body a sematic reaction. In other words, we feel the nervousness, we feel the anxiety.

So, having felt the anxiety it makes us avoid the thing that we are scared of, and as we avoid it we are sort of building up the problem by avoiding it. ‘I didn’t get any more anxious so therefore it must be true that I need to be anxious about it’.

It’s sort of a convoluted emotional logic rather than a logical logic going on inside our brain.

However, if we expose ourself long enough to the situation and we find out that the fear isn’t going to have the affect it was going to have, eventually our brain will just say, ‘got that wrong’, and remove the concern.

Now, there’s a problem with it. Flooding can be very, very uncomfortable in the process and people with strong phobias won’t even expose themselves to the extent of the flooding necessary to solve the problem. So, that being the case, the therapy professionals come up with a different technique dealing with these sort of phobias, and we call it progressive desensitisation.

So, in our next blog post, I’ll explain to you how we deal with phobias using progressive desensitisation.

So, just in summary for now, there are a range of different anxiety disorders.

Generally, they develop in two ways; very, very quickly, in which case you may respond to an NLP technique called the rapid rewind technique or to hypnotherapy; and the other way we learn is slowly by watching parents and other significant persons when we were young, before we could develop critical consciousness.
We could go into a flooding situation and expose ourselves to the source of the fear until it extinguishes. More likel,y we are going to do it on a gentle basis and the technique for that is called progressive desensitisation and I’m going to explain that for you in our next post.

We will see you then! For now, I’m Alan Patching, thanks for watching.

The Difference Between various ‘psych’ related professionals

0.0 Introduction
0.25 What is a Psychiatrist?
1.12 What is a Psychologist?
2.31 What is a Psychotherapist?
3.40 Psychotherapists and research
3.57 Counselling aspects
4.38 Integrative counselling
5.18 Summary

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Hello, Alan Patching here with another post for Transforming Minds.

One of the most frequent questions I’m asked is what’s the difference between a psychologist, psychiatrist and a psychotherapist? And it’s an interesting question, so I’m going to answer it for you here today. It’ll particularly be of interest for people who are seeking help with regards some of the challenges they’re facing in life.

Let’s start at the top of the tree. A psychiatrist is a medically trained person whose done their basic medical training to become a GP with all the residency and internship etc. associated with that ,and just like any other specialist, went on to do further courses of study in a field, a ‘specialty’.

So in the same way as an obstetrician has years of studying the birth of babies etc. A psychiatrist spends years learning about the depths of the functioning of the brain and the diseases associated with the brain etc.

Now a psychiatrist is different in Australia from the others (psychologise and psychotherapist) in that a psychiatrist has the authority and the right to prescribe drugs for mental illnesses etc. So the psychiatrist in all respect is a fully trained doctor with additional study and qualifications in his or her specialty.

A psychologist is someone who’s gone to university and studied specifically- could be in various fields in psychology – but typically in the therapeutic field we are looking at clinical psychology… would have studied the field of research into that field in particular, and in terms of interventions for people with illnesses and anxieties etc. they would study Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

Now post training, they may do some other training in various other associated skills of therapy. However, in Australia, they do not have the right to prescribe medication. In America that’s different for some states but in Australia they do not have the right to prescribe medication.

Now a psychologist might be someone who a doctor refers you to under a mental health scheme or whatever, for a government because you need assistance, for a problem requiring counselling, or in particular to receive CBT work. Now, regarding psychologists in Australia, there are accreditations via the Australian Psychologists Association and they also set, to a larger degree, the standards to be achieved by universities educating these people.

Now, in the field of psychotherapy it broadens out a bit. Most psychiatrists would be trained in psychotherapy. Psychotherapy can be eclectic or integrative. Eclectic means the practitioner would operate using a range of different techniques, not just Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. For example, Gestalt therapy some form of Rogerian counselling or Gestalt counselling. Maybe some techniques from each of these fields such as Empty Chair Technique.

A range of different possibilities come into the field of integrative counselling. And they could be either humanistic in style, or they could be more what we call psychodynamic. Humanistic being more in the moment and dealing with past problems by attitudes and by attitudes and behaviours today, whereas psychodynamic might be looking at things from the past and reframing the way you look at those things now that you are an older person than you were when the experience occurred.

So these are the sort of aspects of psychotherapy that are broader than psychology. Psychotherapists are traditionally not involved in a lot of research as psychologists often are, but that’s changing particularly in England where psychotherapists are beginning to do some very good qualitative research in particular.

So that covers the three of them. Now, all of them get involved in counselling to some extent. But probably the most astute or the most experienced counselling generally would be the psychotherapist because they can use counselling skills in line with a range of other interventions from the psychotherapeutic world.

Now, where a psychotherapist uses one particular skill at a time with a client, then that is what we call eclectic. They have the skills in Cognitive Behavioural work, in Gestalt counselling, In Rogerian counselling, etc. as the moment dictates or suggests would be the best approach. Now, in integrative counselling they mix these things up and as they become more experienced they make their own combinations if you like. Brian Houston wrote a book once saying that for a really experienced integrated counsellor, it’s very difficult to see where one technique is finishing and another technique is starting because they have blurred the lines in almost constantly regenerating new approaches …. and it’s all very much client based.

As Richard Bandler would say from the world of NLP. He’d say basically ‘use what works’, and that’s very much the approach of the integrative psychotherapist.

So there you have it! All of them have a place in the therapy world. The psychiatrist is the medical person, prescribing drugs helping people deal with their diseases.

More for neuroses etc. the psychologist and the psychotherapist. Which one you prefer in Australia gets down to two questions: the psychotherapist generally would not be a counsellor as widely covered on health schemes, particularly government health schemes as the psychologist, that simply doesn’t mean that one’s better than the other, it just means a psychologists are lobbying the government a lot better. But more on that in future posts. A psychiatrist for drugs, you need to be referred; the psychologist, counselling using CBT in particular and psychotherapist using a broader range of skills from the counselling lexicon.

I hope this has been helpful in letting you understand the differences between the terms and to put it, I guess bluntly, there are no clear boundaries. Most good psychologists are going to use integrative counselling and various forms of psychotherapy as well. The boundaries are blurred a lot, except when it comes to the drug prescription – which is strictly dealt by the doctors.

Hope it helps, I look forward to seeing you on a future post, I’m Alan Patching, see you soon.

Transforming Minds: Welcome Back!

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0.0 Introduction
0.18 Reason for blog lapsing for some time
0.50 What we’ll cover in future blogs
1.40 Research I am ‘into’ which might be of interest to you
2.36 …for therapists and helpers

Hello, I’m Alan Patching and welcome back to Transforming Minds.

I say welcome back because some of you may be new viewers of the blog and Transforming Minds was around for several months even though it’s had a break for several months.

The reason for the break – well, my family for some reason decided they would support the pension funds of the medical profession here on the Gold Coast and between my wife, my daughter and myself over the last year or so we’ve had seven individual surgeries all supporting each other.

Well, all that’s finished now, everybody is back to top health, and we are charging on regardless, so we are relaunching Transforming Minds.

We’ve got a very, very strong following and like the last time, I do apologize for the break but I’m sure you’ll understand.

We will be bringing you cutting edge information about things to do with your health associated particularly in the world of psychotherapy, the world of assistance for people who are experiencing difficulties in life. We’ll be giving you information about anxiety and what you can do to avoid it and control it and we’ll be talking about particular types of anxiety. We’ll be looking at the specific field and I’m sure this will be interesting to many of you in the months ahead, not immediately, of dealing with stress if you are undergoing IVF for pregnancy.

One of my specialty areas in my clinic is research into the management of stress and I’m doing two research programs at the moment one is into the management stress in the work place and my research is particularly in the construction work place to see what the effects of stress management are, how much is being done, what the effect of it is etc.

In a completely different field I’m researching….both of these research programs are involved with Universities…..and the second one is in the field of IVF.

What is the effect of a well structured program of stress management in helping people who have difficulty becoming pregnant with IVF, actually achieving their goals – and we’ve got some very interesting case studies to bring to you in that regard and we’ll bring you the results of the research as it goes along and I’m sure you’ll be interested in that.

So, lots of valuable information from the world of therapy for both people who are experiencing difficulties with anxiety, depression, phobias etc. in life, tips to help you with that, and information for those therapists and helpers who are there to extend their services to help people overcome the problems they face.

I’m glad to be back, and I’d really, really like to hear your comments on the posts as we bring them to you in the weeks and months ahead.
I look forward to seeing you on our first content post, which will be in just a few days time. But for now, thanks for being back with us, I’m Alan Patching. All the best.