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overeating loss of control

Overeating loss of control

Overeating loss of control

Many of my clients come for weight loss. The seem to be as many reasons for overeating as there are people who want to lose weight. This client was obese. She told me that she had  battled with weight all her life. The problem seems to center around issues of control. Right now she feels she is out of control. She just feels compelled to get into the cookie tin, even though she knows she shouldn't.

I asked her when all this had started. She said that it got worse six months ago. Previous to that she had lost 15 kg. Now she has put it all on again, plus more. I asked her "what happened six months ago?"

"Six months ago, one of my children dumped their four young children on me because they couldn't cope with them." I asked her why the children's parents couldn't cope. She said "The pair of them are into drugs and alcohol and just can't cope with the children."

The cause of the overeating

The result is that my client now feels imposed upon, but cannot do anything about it. She feels that this is so unfair. She brought up her own children and was looking forward to spending the next 10 years as an indulgent grandma to her grandchildren. And now she's back having a full-time job and looking after for young children. She sees no way out of it and no one else is offering to help.

She is beginning to resent the children and acting grumpy with them. These are classic depression symptoms.  I asked her how she felt about the children. She told me she loves them, but they're not her children. She is done with children. Her own children are all grown up and gone. She had 18 years of motherhood and all the hard work that goes along with that. As soon as they got married she expected to have a lovely retirement, and it hasn't happened.

Overeating, loss of control and resentment

She feels at everything she planned for and worked for has gone wrong. The dream was of taking the grandchildren to the park on a Sunday and buying them ice cream, having a lovely time, and then handing them back. But instead she is now feeding and dressing four young children full-time.

She feels resentful of the children and their parents. She feels helpless. The children can't just be put out on the street. Somehow, she has ended up being responsible for them. She feels that there is nothing she can do about it. No one is helping her. Social Security will not intervene because the children are in a safe environment as far as they are concerned. None of her sisters are lining up to help. It has all spiraled out of control.

Getting your weight under control

The classic response to lack of control is either anger or despair. In her case she has just given up.  She eats for comfort. And as soon as she's eaten it, she feels unhappy at putting on weight, gets resentful, and the whole cycle starts again. It's all getting too much for her and she is rapidly sinking into despair.

I investigated a bit more and confirmed that she has had symptoms of depression on and off most of her life. What was most apparent is that she has Categorical Thinking. People with categorical thinking believe that things should be a certain way, and if they are not then they reject them totally. In this case, her expectation was of an easy relaxed retirement, with the bonus of grand kids to play with. What she actually got was an endless amount of work, dealing with someone else's responsibility, and no way out of it. That triggered her categorical thinking, and so she has just given up. The weight gain is a direct consequence of the feeling of losing control.

She said that her weight had yo-yo'd up and down throughout her life. I think that a great many other people are similarly affected by loss of control issues.

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Stress from childhood

Is your Stress from childhood memories?

Stress from childhood

My client was a senior manager in a construction company. He came to me because he was getting more and more stressed. It was affecting his work, and it was beginning to show. He could nut understand why he was getting stressed so badly. His job was high powered, he had been doing it for many years, he was successful and had a great future. He was a big tough guy in an industry full of big tough guys. And yet, something was really getting to him. He not only had stress, he was getting distressed. 

I started trying to find out exactly what he meant by "stress". He told me there was only one thing worrying him.  He had personally championed bid for a big government contract, and had got it. That contract was going to make the company truckloads of money. If they could pull it off. It was going OK, but as it ramped up, he could see shortages of key components, and of the skilled labour needed. He worried he might not be able to source these. Somehow, this was really winding him up.

Stress from childhood feelings

He was not able to identify any specific thing about this contract that was different from any other contract. He had thought about it himself, but could find no explanation. I asked him, "How do you feel about the problems with that contact? How it make you feel inside?" I encouraged him to go inside, to allow the feelings to come out. 

This immediately brought out a whole lot of unhappy memories. He was not close to his stepfather. His mother left his father and married his father's best friend, my client's stepfather. My client was distressed that he in fact had been named for this other man. The memories caused him to get more distressed and he started crying. His emotions were clearly right at the surface so I decided to go for a metaphor replacement therapy.

Exploring his feelings with Metaphor Therapy

I asked him "what are you feeling right now? What is it like?" He said it was like a ball about the size of a fist. A  heavy weight. Black, cold, not smooth. He said it was all screwed up and smashed. It was dark and solid. I got him to think about how he could change that thing. He said that when he could get rid of it he could forget all that stuff.

I got into think about that ball. He said that he was carrying it around with him. And got him to make it bigger and smaller and to get it to change. It became full of colours and green. Eventually I got it to go away. But he was still upset.

I explored this remaining feeling. He told me that when he was a child his parents broke up. His mother left his father. She broke off all communication with him. The complete break meant that he was not allowed to see his nana anymore. He loved his grandma, and she was taken away from him. This was what it was all about.

Being unable to have his nana. This was the source of the feelings of unfairness, of the unhappiness, of the feeling of being cheated and deprived. This was what the uncertainty and loss of control of the contract was about. The feelings about the contract were triggering memories of the same helplessness. Every time he thought about the contract going wrong, it brought up those ancient feelings of despair and loss. The current stress was actually rooted in childhood. 

Healing his inner child

So I did inner child work on his feeling about being taken away from his nana. I got him to go back to that little boy. He comforted the boy. I told him to tell that little boy that it was not his fault. "Tell him he did nothing wrong." He changed the boy's feelings and led him out of that place. Then I got him to watch  over the boy as he grew up, and finally reintegrated and reconciled the adult and child.

I think this is the first time I've done inner child work with a man. But the results were spectacular.  He said "I felt a great weight  lifting off me. That feeling just isn't there anymore."

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smoking block

Smoking Block stopping stopping

I had an interesting session today. My client was an Indian IT guy, recently arrived in this country. He came from a traditional Indian family. There is a lot of pressure to conform. They don't like him smoking.

He wants to stop smoking but can't. He stopped for two years but then started again due to stress in his marriage. Says he smokes because it is always the easy way out of stress. He feels that he's got some sort of mental block. He doesn't want to smoke but keeps doing it. The block was mentioned several times in his description of the problem.

Targeting the block

Because he mentioned the block so often I decided to use that as my starting point. I asked him to think about going to work, walking up the steps, with his cup of coffee. Not wanting to smoke but feeling that block that stops him stopping. I developed the idea and he then began to talk about the block.

He said it was shapeless and limitless. I got him to describe what it looked like and eventually he said it just looks like smoke. I got him to talk about how he felt about that smoke. He said he felt that it was like smoke under a glass jar. It kept changing. I asked him what he wanted to have happen to the smoke. He said he wanted to disappear. I asked "And if that disappears what would that mean for you?".  "I would be able to see through it." "And what could you do then?". "I could manage it, I could get away from that black smoke, and manage to stop."

This confirmed the link between "disappearing" and "manage to stop".

Clearing the smoking block

I then said "and what would have to happen for that smoke to disappear". He hesitated for a long time. I said to him "look around you and see what else is there in that place." To my surprise he said "there is a painting."

I developed the painting.  He said "it has flowers. It is beautiful." I suggested to him "this is the source of power for you." "You can use this to get rid of that smoke." I used that resource until he agreed that the smoke had disappeared.

When the smoke had disappeared, I deepened him to a deeper level of trance. To be sure, I did an eye catalepsy test. He could not open his eyes.  Then I did the DRAIN metaphor therapy. This had him clear the block so that it drained out the soles of his shoes.

Organ talking

I then used the TALK TO THE PARTS method. I got him to talk to his lungs and listen to what they said. I got him to talk to his heart and listen to what that said. Then I suggested that he listen to all the other parts of him that are being affected by smoking. He said there were all complaining about his smoking. I got him to apologize to those parts for having betrayed them by smoking.  Then I got him then to ask for their forgiveness. He negotiated all this internally.

Then I used direct suggestion and him that he would never smoke again. I told him that he owed it to his organs to live for a long time. It was his job to keep himself healthy. He owed it to those parts to live for a long time.

Reinforcing the message

I tried for a hand ideomotor signal. I am not sure that I got one. But I suggested that this was his unconscious mind signaling to him. Then I told him to thank his unconscious mind for having made this change and making him a non-smoker. I suggested that he might get a message back of some sort. I am not sure what he got. His fingers did not move as I expected.

I then counted out and back to the present. He was clearly still partly in trance. I explained what had happened in terms that he would understand using a metaphor about operating systems. He could barely remember what had happened, except when I prompted him.

I was interested to see if his cultural background would have suggested something unusual in terms of his unconscious mind communicating something to him. Apparently not.

Interesting session.


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no past life

The Empty Bridge: no past life to explore?

What if you have no past life to explore?

I had a client yesterday who wanted to explore his past lives. He said it was purely out of curiosity.  He was of East Asian origin, and has a long history of mental awareness training.  Each day he chants for an hour and a half.  Despite the chanting, and having studied meditation, he told me that he has never succeeded in getting into trance.

I discussed past life regression with him, what I was going to do,  and what to expect. He seemed quite happy with my proposed approach. I was a little worried about the fact that he had never experienced trance. 

Leading him into trance

So I set out to teach him self hypnosis. I used a Progressive Muscle Relaxation induction. He went quite quickly into trance. Then I deepened him with a countdown deepener. Then, to be totally sure, I did an eye catalepsy test. In trance, I got him to try to open his eyes to prove to himself that he was in trance.

I then brought him out of trance and talked to him about the experience. He was delighted with trance experience. He reported that his body felt numb from the neck down. We discussed self hypnosis and depth of trance. He asked how he could go back into trance again.  To show him how easy it was, I got him to close his eyes, relax his body, and then I put him back into trance with the vanishing numbers induction.

Testing his subconscious recall ability

I then use this as the lead in to PLR. I deepened him again and led him to a river. He was walking along a riverbank when he came to a boat tied up at the side. He got into the boat which was filled with luxurious fabrics. I told him to sink down into the fabrics, and I deepened him again on those. Then I set the boat drifting down the river and suggested to him that he was seeing memories of his own life as he went down the river. He told me that he saw his parents,  teachers, and recalled some  incidents from his childhood. I was satisfied that he could visualize, and he could find memories from his own subconscious mind. 

Searching for his past lives

Then I told him that the boat was drifting into a long tunnel which was completely dark. Then his boat drifted out into light on the other side. In that place everything was mist. I suggested he could see things but he could not describe anything. I tried several other ways of getting him to experience a past life but he did not get a connection. He said there was something holding him back from going into the mist.

I brought him out of trance and we talked about it. He suggested that he was perhaps not ready for it. I told him that he would have to practice a great deal more so that he could go into trance easily, quickly, and certainly. He agreed that he now knew how to do that. He was looking forward to testing out his own mind in trance. We ended the session on that note

Even though we found no past life, he seemed quite pleased with the session overall.

How you can have no past life

I have an open mind on the whole Past Lives concept. But if it is true, then for it to work, there must exist a soul that was in somebody else before you. However, it is said that there are more people alive right now than have ever lived in the whole of history. Ancient populations were tiny compared to the vast global population today. So if there are more bodies than there every have been in the past, then logically there must be people being born today who cannot have had a previous life. Perhaps my client was one of them?

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fear of everything

Fear of Everything

Fear of Everything

I had a really interesting client today. A young woman came in complaining of being anxious all the time, of worrying about things that might go wrong, of distrusting everyone, of never feeling safe except in a group of friends.

Her symptoms were getting worse, she was finding more and more things made her uneasy, and she was getting anxious about whether this would ever stop or if she was slowly going mad. She had started losing all her friends and could see no future if this continued. Her anxiety itself was making her more anxious. She was beginning to think that her life was closing down, and that she was losing her mind.

Sudden violence

She said that she used be the most easy going person around, but that changed about three years ago. I asked her what happened at that time and she described a home invasion by some criminals. They had gone to the wrong house and started to demand things with violence. The client was punched, thrown around, and her father terrorized by these men.

She said it was not a problem as she had seen a psychotherapist and although they did not talk about it directly the psychotherapist said that it did not matter and the anxiety come from something else in her childhood.

I started talking about the home invasion and immediately she looked distressed and tearful. I told her that is was obvious that she had not gotten over it, and that I thought that was the cause of all her problems.

Embodied fear of everything

I explained that what she was experiencing was the body's natural reaction to a sudden unexpected trauma. She had never resolved the fear of the home invasion and that fear was now generalizing to more and more aspects of her life. The fear was made worse because it was totally unexpected. Far from having a bad childhood, as the psychotherapist had said, she actually had a lovely childhood, and felt safe and secure and loved right up to the time that the home invasion occurred. The contrast between her life up to that point and the sudden out of control situation made it even worse. She had no personal experience of violence up to that point, and it made her terrified.

I believe that PTSD is the result of a situation where the person feels that they have had the rug pulled from under their feet; that everything they ever believed in is no longer true; nothing can be relied on; that the world is suddenly seen as a dangerous place. This woman had all of these things and had not been properly counselled as to how to deal with it.

Relieving the fear of everything

I got her to relax, and to think back to the home invasion. She immediately got the feeling of anxiety. I asked her to locate it in her body. Then I got her to turn the feeling into an object, to describe that object in ever increasing detail. Eventually I had her move the object out into her hand and asked her how it seemed now. She replied that it was smaller and not important now. She said she wanted to throw it far away so it couldn't come back.

I got her to do that. Then I brought her back to the present and asked how she felt now. She that all the anxiety had gone, and she was quite looking forward to going out with her friends that night instead of dreading it. As far as I could tell all the problems had disappeared completely.

I thought this case was particularly interesting because it showed clearly how one incident can then expand to dominate the client's life. It also shows that the theories about the mammalian response to life threatening events is correct. 

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smoking my time

Smoking Stress and My Time


Smoking is often claimed to be addictive, more addictive than heroin. But a moment's thought will bring up any number of examples of people who have smoked for decades and then gave up overnight. Or of people who can smoke a whole pack at the weekend and never think of a cigarette again during the week. Or who can smoke like chimneys on holiday and then stop completely until the following year. So smoking cannot just be a simple substance addiction.

The reasons why people smoke are as different as the people themselves. One reason that I come across again and again is that smoking is 'my time'.

'My Time' is how smokers describe the period after all the kids have been put to bed, or all the customers have been dealt with. It is a time to withdraw from the demands of others. A time to satisfy yourself, to have a break and chill out with your cigarette. They can put up with anything as long as they know that they can have some time to themselves later. Over many years they have come to associate having personal time with having a smoke. They now think that it is the cigarette that is making them feel better. In fact the cigarette is just incidental, the benefit is coming from the break, not the cigarette.

Smoking and addiction

This type of smoker has very little 'addiction' to tobacco. What they do have is a strong association between smoking and getting away from the incessant demands and responsibilities for others. This type of smoker is actually quite easy to get to stop smoking. Essentially all you have to do is to assure them that they are still entitled to their own quiet time, but to link this to doing something else. The smoking habit will go into extinction quite quickly, since it was never about nicotine in the first place.

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hypnosis client contracts

Hypnosis Client Contracts

Hypnosis Client Contracts

A therapist wrote to me:

I am looking for a 'model' or 'template' of a contract between therapist and client and can't seem to find one anywhere on the internet.
Have you any ideas where I might find this?

My reply was:

I don't use a contract. Never have, never will.

Hypnosis is about relationships

Hypnosis is intensely personal. A therapist who thinks he needs to be ready to sue his clients at any moment has something seriously wrong with his attitude. If you need a contract, the relationship has already failed, and it is always your fault.

In the therapy business the client holds all the aces. The client can lie to you, not turn up, not do what you ask - and there is nothing you can do about it. There is no practical way you can pursue a defaulter through the courts that won't cost you more in time than you get. It just leaves you looking desperate and unprofessional.
All the client has to do is to say that you were in some way deficient and you have no defence.

If the first thing a therapist does is to get the client to fill in a questionnaire and sign a legal disclaimer, full of penalties for non-payment, how likely is it that the relationship gets off to a warm friendly start?
A successful therapy business is based on trust, professionalism and referrals. All a contract does is specify in advance all the things that can go wrong. It tends to focus everyone's attention on the the wrong thing. 

Bad therapists try to tie clients into agreeing to some number of sessions and then sue them when they don't turn up. That never works.

What is the basis for Hypnosis Client Contracts?

I have no idea how many sessions will be needed or long it will take. You should plan on the basis that you will never see the client again. Aim to do everything you need to do in the first session. It is almost certainly going to be your only session. If it works they don't need to see you again, if it doesn't they don't want to see you again.

If all you do is write down stuff in the first session, they feel cheated. Do not take elaborate histories, that is just a waste of time. If you really listen to the client, listen to their body language, what their clothes are saying, listen to their attitude, their choice of words, you will get most of what you need to know in the first ninety seconds.
Then you keep asking questions until you define precisely what their problem is and how you are going to tackle it. Then you do the therapy.
My sessions take as long as they take, up to two hours.

What to focus on 

I keep comprehensive records of my sessions, but they are all about me. They are about what I thought and what I did and how it worked. More importantly, I note what might work better next time, and what I learned from this client. The only thing I have from the client is their name and email.

My advice is: forget about contracts, focus on building relationships.

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Words Memory Trance

Words Memory Trance Cure for Boredom

Words Memory Trance

Words Memory Trance are all connected. If you focus on a word for long enough it will lead you into the depths of your unconscious mind. Try it.

I am learning Spanish and I am therefore getting to know lots of strange words. Words are funny things. They have no meaning except what people give them. There is no particular reason why thunder should be the series of sounds we have all agreed to say to represent the sound that clouds sometimes make.

And yet I am in a business that depends on using the right words, and listening intently for particular words.

Words have no meaning

You can prove that words have no meaning quite easily. All you have to do is to repeat a word, any word, over and over and quite quickly it will cease to have any meaning at all and will seem totally strange to you. This is the basis of mantra meditation. By repeating a word or phrase you eventually dissociate from it, the word and its meaning separate, and your mind then drifts off into trance.

Another interesting experiment to do is to try to find out what a word means to you personally, your own personal sense of it. Take an abstract word, not something definite like the word kangaroo, but something you cannot picture directly. A word such as 'towards' or 'together'' or 'apply' or something else abstract. Even the word 'abstract' itself. Meditate on that word. A word like abstract might immediately bring up an image of some crazy modern painting. But you can continue to meditate on the word, and eventually you will find that you get other images and feelings that have to do with that word. It is quite an interesting process, watching your own mind at work.

A cure for boredom

There will be some words that do not produce an immediate image, such as 'towards', or 'close'. In that case meditate on your word, keep focusing on the word, and at some point you will get an image, and it will probably be something from your early childhood, because these are words that could not be shown to you in a picture, they had to be demonstrated indirectly in some way, and it probably took many attempts before you understood what it meant. And most likely, what you get from your mind will be a memory of someone or something acting out your word.

So you never need to be bored again when you are waiting in the departure lounge.

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public speaking fear

Public speaking fear treatment

Is it really about public speaking?

My client said that she had an issue with public speaking. Whenever she has to speak with people who are above her or in a senior role she blushes and stammers and feels very uncomfortable. Even when she is in a meeting with people she knows. When they go round the table and ask everyone to introduce themselves she dreads it as the turn comes towards her. She always feels as though she's being put on the spot. Someone might ask a question and she won't know the answer. She hates the feeling of being in the spotlight.

Rather than being an issue of public speaking, it seemed to be more about the fear that people will think her less knowledgeable than they are.

Public Speaking and issues from childhood

I discussed this with her and she revealed that she had felt this way for a long time. This suggested to me that the problem came from childhood. A problem from childhood needs regression therapy or metaphor replacement therapy.

She told me that it is quite likely that this came from her childhood. She was one of a pair of non-identical twins. Her sister is currently being treated for anorexia. Her sister has a history of behavior difficulties. When they were growing up, of the two twins my client always felt that she was the favourite, and that her sister was discriminated against. My client was blonde and bubbly, and her sister was dark and sullen. Whether this was cause or effect she could not say. She could not remember anything in particular about her childhood that had to do with public speaking issues with people in authority. But she was quite willing to go ahead with the therapy.

Metaphor Replacement therapy - defining the object

I explained to her that the fastest way was metaphor replacement therapy. For that she would have to be able to get the feeling right there in the chair. If she was  not able to get the feeling then we would do regression and try to find the childhood incident that caused it all.

It took quite a while for her to get the feeling. I then said to her "and where in your body are you feeling it?" She said "in my heart". I said to her "what thing does that most resemble? Think about its color, its shape, its size, think about what it be like if you were to reach out and hold it." She took a very long time to respond. I began to think that she was not able to get the feeling and we would have to go to regression.

But eventually she whispered "it's like a ball". I asked her to start describing it. She said it's sort of transparent, with red and black going through it. It is warm". Further probing elicited that there was about the size of her hand, it felt soft, it was like a marble with colors going through it. It was smooth. When I asked "what else do you know about it?". She said "it is a part of me".

Developing the metaphor for fear of public speaking

I then said "and what would you like to have happen to it?" She said "I would like it be gone". I then tried to create the link between this thing being gone and her behavior. So I asked "and if it is gone, would that mean for you?". She said "There would be a hole".

And I said "and what could you do then?". She said "I can fill the hole". I wasn't sure whether she had actually got rid of the object already or whether she just didn't understand what I was asking. So I sent her what would it mean to you if that thing was gone completely from your body. And she said "freedom". I tried to finish the link. I said "and with freedom what can you do then?" She said "I would be lighter".

Not Destroying the metaphor object

I thought the session was going off track. So I asked her "can you make that feeling a little bit bigger?" She took a very long time to answer. And then she said "yes." And I said "can you make it a little bit bigger still". She started to get very emotional at this point. I was worried that she was going to have a catharsis. Or some sort of abreaction. Her mouth was twisting, her chin was wobbling up and down, she looked deeply distressed. Under her eyelids her eyes were moving as if searching for something.

I reassured her "nothing in your own mind can ever harm you". Next, I encouraged her to change that ball. I asked "can you make it a little bit smaller?". And to my surprise she immediately said "yes". I then got her to progressively make it smaller and smaller. From time to time I asked "and what is going on in that place now?". She said it is very small". Then she said it has changed colour. It is now blue. It is not a problem anymore."

Keeping her new resource

The standard part of the process is to destroy the object. But in this case she insisted "it is not bad". It appeared that she wanted to keep this thing. So I got her to take the thing out from where it was. I suggested that she might find someplace and nobody wish you could keep it. Where it would be an asset to be useful to her.

Then I told her to think about the place where that marble had been. I told her to find some pleasant helpful thing that she could put in there. I suggested that there was something she could put in that would fill the place completely and overfill it and fill the rest of her body. "What have you found to put in there?" She said "positive feelings". I asked "and what colour are those positive feelings?". She said "yellow". So I use that to suggest that that dark hole had been filled with yellow and the whole of her body was filled with that lovely yellow feeling and tied it into things like daylight and days at the beach and other good memories.

Coming back from trance

I then got her to take two deep breaths and to count from one up to 3. I suggested it when she got to 3 she will be back in the present. And she was.

I tested to make sure that the feeling was gone. And she said "you know I'm thinking about it. I am thinking about the meeting with my bosses. And I just can't believe that that feeling is completely gone. Totally not there."

Lessons from the session

In this case whatever was causing her public speaking issue was very strong and very personal. But it also contains some element that she wanted to keep. Which was why she did not want to get rid of it completely. Fortunately I recognised this and allowed her to convert into some thing that she would find useful.

She ended the session still amazed that she could find no trace of that feeling.

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sexual dysfunction

Sexual Dysfunction is not always about sex

Sexual Dysfunction is not always about sex

My client came to see me because of sexual dysfunction. He is a fit young man living with a woman he loves. She is keen on sex and so is he, but he keeps losing his erection during the process. She is understandably annoyed and is threatening to end the relationship.

My client told of a disastrous first attempt at sex that left both of them unhappy. He had been at a Christian camp and the object of his desire was also inexperienced. When the two of them met at night in an empty room it was in secrecy and under constant danger of being discovered. He said the whole thing was an embarrassment, nobody got anything out of it. He blamed it on inexperience and the threat of exposure. It was a classic case of a first attempt at sex that goes wrong, and plants the seed of worry that expands and ruins the rest of his life.

Sexual Dysfunction and Regression

Before he came to me he had been to see a different hypnotherapist three times. That therapist asked the usual questions and tried regression, but it did not have the right effect. He is now in a relationship with a woman who he thinks could be 'the one' so he is putting extra pressure on himself and his girlfriend is putting on even more pressure. I couldn't see what I could do that would be different from the regression and general NLP advice that he already got.

And then I got to thinking about that first encounter. A young man, a teenager, should have no problem getting it up. That's what young men are designed for. So I asked a bit more deeply about what went on that night, and particularly about what went on just before his assignation. He revealed that he was worried about what might happen before he even got there, and that everything turned out wrong just as he feared it would.

So I started thinking about why a young lover would be fearful even before the attempt. There must have been some reason why it even crossed his mind that it could go wrong. I tested for anxiety/depression. He has a bit of Introversion and a bit of anxiety thinking, but not full depression. His father had depression. He told of a childhood where his parents divorced when he was ten and he heard them arguing all the time. I concluded that he has hyper vigilance.

Sexual Dysfunction anxiety

I think that he had childhood anxiety and that it was the existing anxiety that made the first sex go wrong, not the bad sex that caused the sexual anxiety. He has underlying anxiety that is making him catastrophize over his past sexual failure. And because he sees this particular woman as his chance at a life partner, he is putting intense pressure on himself because this one must work, or he will miss out for life. This is causing more catastrophizing thoughts, more anxiety, and she is putting more pressure on him to perform, which causes more anxiety and so on.

The interesting thing about this case is that it is not the first sexual encounter that was the Initial Sensitizing Event (ISE) and therefore regression is the wrong treatment. There was no ISE. What was there was chronic anxiety from childhood, that happens to be expressing itself as sexual performance problems.

The solution therefore is to treat the anxiety. And that's what I did.

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