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avoiding thoughts

Are you just avoiding thoughts?

Avoiding thoughts 

In hypnotherapy, I see many different types of behavior. People often tell me stories about why they behave the way they do. The reasons are usually something that was done to them. They offer this as the excuse for why they behave the way they do, and why they are unable to change their own behavior.

It is a very human tendency to try to find explanations and excuses for your behavior. This is perfectly understandable. However, most people do not really understand what is driving their own behavior.

Rationalizing behavior

I was reminded of this today. I had a client come to see me who felt that she was always thinking of all the worst things that could happen. For example, if her husband was late coming home she would think "I know he's not dead, he's just a bit late, isn't he? I would have heard of that had been an accident". She would catastrophize endlessly about almost anything. Her explanation was because she was the third child of four. She had an elaborate theory of how the first child acted a certain way, and the second child acted a different way, and the third child acted in yet another way. And that was why she was behaving the way she was. In fact, she had an undiagnosed case of depression.

It is not uncommon for people to totally miss the real reason for why they do what they do. In therapy, I am more often interested in what people are not doing, than in what they are doing. I often tell my clients, "every coin has two sides".

Doing something to avoid doing something else

People will tell you for example that there are workaholics, that they have to be at work all the time, that they can't let go of the details. When I hear a story like this I always think to myself "and what are you trying to get away from?" A person who is a workaholic is not attracted to work. There are not simply trying to get a job done. What they are trying to do is to get away from emotional problems they have with their family. Being at work and gives them a reason for not dealing with their own emotional inadequacies. They are avoiding thoughts.

Many years ago I had a client who was a motorcycle racing champion. He told me that when he was a teenager, he would go for long rides on his motorbike. He said that when he was riding, and was coming up to a corner at speed, he had to focus totally on getting round the corner. There was no space in his mind for any other thought. He used the dangers of motorcycling to get his mind clear. It was not that he was attracted to motorcycling, it was the only way he knew to stop the constant nagging in his mind.

Marathon Mind

I also spoke to someone who had been a marathon runner. He told me that one of the attractions of marathon running was that at some point you get so tired that you have to focus totally on just getting through the next mile and the next mile. This forces you to concentrate on just getting one foot in front of the other. And it drives out any unwanted thoughts. The attraction is not the running or the winning. The attraction is having a break from the relentless feeling of emptiness, or doubt, or self-hatred.

I know a bridge player who has something similar. When she is sitting down to play bridge, she has to focus totally on the cards. Every hand is challenging, every hand is difficult and intricate. When she is playing in a tournament there is no space in her  head for any other thoughts. That is why people become bridge addicts.

So think about what you do. Think about your own behaviors. And then think about the other side of the coin. Are you doing something not because you like it, but because it lets you avoid something else?

 

 

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reasons for smoking

Reasons for smoking

Reasons for Smoking

My client yesterday was a middle aged woman who just could not give up smoking. She could not give any reasons for smoking.

I asked if she had ever stopped smoking. She said "I stopped when I got pregnant". I then asked her why she started again. "About a year ago. A friend offered me a cigarette, and said it might help, so I took it. And then it was a case of another one, and then two, and then very quickly I was back smoking again."

I asked what else was going on in her life at that time. She said "I discovered that my husband was having an affair with my best friend."

The real reasons for smoking

It seems strange to me that someone would blame starting smoking again on a friend suggesting that it might help them, and totally ignoring the fact that their life had fallen apart around them. It is a peculiar kind of blindness that seems to affect people who start smoking again. They will blame the smallest thing, and completely ignore overwhelming emotional changes.

It is also strange that even after years of not smoking, people can believe that smoking will help them. I have had many clients who told me "I took the first cigarette. It tasted horrible. I felt sick and dizzy. But I kept on with it, until I had started again."

I asked "how did you feel when you stop smoking when you were pregnant?" She said, "I felt that I had to quit, and I resented it. Even though I stopped for 11 years I still resented being made to stop. Especially at the beginning of the pregnancy when my husband did not stop smoking but I had to. I hate it when I cannot do what I want and other people make me do things."

And there was the real reason for smoking. It was also the best indicator of how to go about helping her stop smoking again.

 

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past life regression hypnotherapy

Past Life Regression Hypnotherapy

Past Life Regression Hypnotherapy

A client booked in with me writing "I would like to have a past life regression hypnosis. I feel a bit unhappy, like I am not fulfilling my purpose. I feel a bit lost." Past life regression hypnotherapy requests are fairly common but I always wonder what prompts the client to ask for one.

The client was a young primary teacher. She told me "I feel totally confused about my feelings, and my own life. I was going to resign my job because I couldn't really understand how I was feeling. My friends tell me it must be something I did in a past life."

Different assumptions

It became obvious fairly quickly that she really was not in touch with their own feelings. I gave her the dysthymia questionnaire. She identified with most of the areas, particularly with circular thinking. We discussed how rumination was affecting her. On looking at the the other aspects of dysthymia,  it became clear that she also has black and white thinking. This is defined by high expectations and distress at not achieving them. The rumination and failed expectations were driving her  lack of feeling, of disconnection.

It had never occurred to her that she had depression, despite the fact that her sister has depression, and her mother shows every sign of it as well.

I outlined what she has to do to fix her own depression, emphasizing exercise, but not going into detail or suggesting that she should come back.

We agreed that all of her symptoms were consistent with depression, and there was no point in doing past life regression.

There was not a lot of time left, so I had to do something fairly quick to end the session.

Metaphor therapy

She came to my office convinced there was something hidden inside that was making her act and  feel this way. So I decided to use metaphor therapy to clear that thing. I did a short induction. I suggested there was something lodged in her unconscious mind. Her own mind searched for it, found it, and ripped it out. Then it turned to liquid and drained out through her feet.

She was one of those clients who do a lot of moving in trance. I was concerned that she was not deep enough, so I deepened her by going down some steps into a garden. I didn't know what to do next. So I just let my unconscious mind take over. I noticed a potted plant on my windowsill. So I took her to a large glass house. The glasshouse was hot and steamy and everything was growing. I led her to a bench where there was a flower pot with rich earth in it.

Grow your answer Therapy 

There was a packet with her name on it. She felt it, and it appeared to have a seed inside. There was a sign that said 'open me'. I got her to plant the seed. Then someone appeared and said "I have been waiting for you to plant that seed. Now I will look after it for you. The seed will grow into a plant with many beneficial properties. It will continue to grow throughout your life. Who who knows what it will produce?".

I then got her to go outside and had her sit on a bench. She fell asleep on the bench and began to dream of a woman sitting on a bench. She dreamed of a woman sitting on a bench dreaming about a woman sitting on a bench and hearing these words. I continued with the multiple levels of dissociation until even I got lost in it.  This could be a good way of doing multiple embedded metaphors?

Feedback on this Past Life Regression Hypnotherapy

I was a little concerned that she had not really been in trance, due to the amount of wriggling around that she did. So I asked her what she remembered about the hidden object. She said it was that one of those things that suck blood, a leech. So, I was happy that she actually had been utilizing her own unconscious mind.

At then, at the end, saying goodbye, she said "and I really liked the whole plant thing, and this thing growing".

What I learned from this is that it is quite amazing how people can misinterpret their own symptoms. This woman was being encouraged to go down the path of New Age spirituality, and who knows where it might have led her. She just did not recognize the source of her own problems.

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hypnoanalysis

Hypnoanalysis Hypnotherapy

Hypnoanalysis and Hypnotherapy

As part of my professional self-development I am reading books based on other therapies. I am interested in what I might learn about my assumptions in how I do therapy, and about hypnoanalysis. I chose to read The Examined Life because I wanted a perspective from psychoanalytical therapy. The book is a collection of stories about patients by a well-known American psychoanalyst based in London.

Differences in approach

One of the most striking things to me is the basic psychoanalysis approach to therapy. I see most of my clients for one hour and never see them again. His clients see him five times a week, and continue seeing him every day for years and years. There is no expectation of making any immediate change.

The type of client he treats is also very different. Only seriously wealthy people can afford to pay for therapy five hours a week for years. Therefore, his approach to them is quite different. It is an approach of almost diffidence, doing nothing to upset or alienate the client, and the income stream.

Another curious aspect of psychoanalysis practice arises out of the limitless number of hours available. Grosz recounts several patients where neither he nor the patient said anything for an hour. They both sat there in total silence, waiting for something to happen. I doubt any hypnotherapist has ever done that.

Applying psychoanalytic principles to hypnoanalysis

It seems to me that psychoanalysis is basically a form of Reframing. The object is to get the patient to recognize some key element of their behavior, and understand that behavior as representing something else. That last sentence is actually the definition of 'metaphor'. It seems to me that he was constantly seeking a metaphor to explain his clients' behavior. And just like reframing, the theory is that realizing that you can see things in different way, to have different explanation, is all you need to cure you.

For me, the strangest part concerns the relationship between the Analyst and the Patient. For Grosz, the analysis can not make progress until a proper relationship is established. It is not friendship, it is not advisory, it is something unique to psychoanalytic training. There is nothing like that in hypnotherapy.

Freud and hypnoanalysis

Grosz is a Freudian psychoanalyst. His therapeutic approach is therefore based on Freudian theory and thinking. It only comes up incidentally in the stories about his patients, but I found the Freudian worldview both startling and alien. Nothing is ever accepted for what it is. Everything is interpreted through the lens of Freudian theory. Everything is a hidden message about your mother or father.

And I found a very different approach to therapy. In the stories about his patients Grosz seems to give very little value to non-psychological causes. He often mentions in passing that his patients have an alcoholic father, or a brother in psychiatric care, or a history of depression in the family, but never seems to give any weight to the possibility that his patient's behavior may have a genetic basis. There seems to be no role for physiology.

He does not use anything from behavioral psychology, or CBT, or guided visualization, or any other direct intervention. Everything is about getting the patient to speak aloud, and then helping the patient to interpret what they just said. It is a passive approach to therapy. In some aspects psychoanalysis seems very close to non-interventionist counseling.

Overall impression

There is a lot in this book that is good. There is a lot I disagree with. It is challenging and interesting. But it is actually a very bleak book. I felt quite disturbed by the time I had reached the end of it. His underlying theme is about change and loss. He says there can be no change without loss. Whether this reflects his own personality, or the result of a lifetime spent talking to unhappy people, is impossible to say.

There are many thought provoking phrases used in the book.

"Behavior is the language we use when we have no words to express how we feel".

"My job is not to find a solution. My job is to find a useful question".

Some of his patients were deeply disturbed. And disturbing. I found it very hard to get one story out of my mind. He described working with a woman whose husband had a terminal illness. She could not cope with living with someone who is dying. In particular she was horrified by what she felt was having to have sex with a corpse.

Reflections on Hypnoanalysis

The main reason for reading this book was to challenge my own assumptions about how I do therapy. When questioning why other people do therapy the way they do, it challenges you to justify why you do therapy the way you do.

It seems to me that the principles of psychoanalysis do not transfer well to hypnoanalysis. I will not be using Freudian principles in my daily work.

However, this book has made me question my assumptions. If psychoanalysis believes that telling your story is how you make sense of your life, why don't I believe that? And what do I believe? How do I know what I am doing is right?

 

The examined life
How we lose and find ourselves
by Stephen Grosz
London: Chatto and Windus. 2013
ISBN 978-070–18535–0

 

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Clearing childhood anxiety

Clearing Childhood Anxiety

Clearing Childhood Anxiety

I saw a client last week who was always nervous and frightened. It clearly has something to do with her childhood anxiety. She could not identify anything in particular that she might feel anxious about. In fact she really couldn't remember much about her childhood at all. I hypnotized her and used a metaphor designed to help remove generalized anxiety. I told her to let me know how she felt in a week or so.

One morning this week she woke up suddenly with a great fear. She had no idea what was causing this, and began to go into a panic. Then she recognized it. It was something she has had all her life. But it was only after last week's session that she could isolate it from all the other things going on in her life.

She came to see me, still a little disturbed by the memory. I got her to relax and breathe deeply. She went into trance easily. In trance I encouraged her to be open to that feeling of 'great fear'. It was a feeling she now recognized, that she had had many times, so she quickly recalled it.

Transforming Childhood anxiety

When I was sure that she was experiencing the fear, I began the process to get her to transform the feeling into a object. I asked her "where are you feeling it?" This is the first stage of establishing the feeling as a 'thing' separate from herself. "What shape is it?" to get her to think about the nature of her 'thing'. Then I asked, "what object does this 'thing' most resemble? What is it like?". Once the client can think of it as an object, she can begin to make changes to it.

She told me that the feeling was "In my chest. like a black jelly fish". I got her to describe her jelly fish in more and more detail. It was " Sticky.  And filled with terror". Now that the fear was transformed into something else, she could think about the something else as something that could go away. If the feeling is part of you, you can't fix it. But if the feeling is separate from you, you can think of fixing it.

I asked her, " What do you want to have happen to that jelly fish?" She told me she "Want it to go away". I asked "And can it go away?"  "I don't think so". When the client cannot do what they want to do with the object, you need to help them. I asked "Can you imagine holding that jelly fish in your hands?" "No, it  just slips through my fingers". So to help her get it out of her body I suggested that she could put in a box. That worked. Then I suggested she might put the box with the jelly fish in  chair in front of her. This suggestion is designed to make her externalize the object completely.

Externalizing her Childhood Anxiety

She put the box in the chair. I asked "What do you think will happen to that jelly fish in the box?" This was to get her to think about ways to change the feeling. She said "I can't get it to do anything. It won't die". I asked "What might you use to kill it?" She said "I can stab it with knitting needles". She tried that, but said "it ate them". Then I asked "what happens to things that eat knitting needles?"

By thinking about what would be different she triggered a resource in her mind. She said it had turned into a paua (abalone)  stuck to the side of the box. Paua are large shellfish that stick immovably to rocks. In this kind of therapy, the client represents aspects of themselves as the metaphor objects. So the paua was her. It has a strong shell, and cannot be budged from where it is anchored. I asked her "what do you think that shellfish is thinking?" This was to get her to say what the paua represented for her. "It is for death". I told her "Ask the paua what it wants to do".  "It is trying to run away".

Regression for her Childhood anxiety

I felt that if the paua was about her sheltering, hiding from something, then  probably I shouldn't mess with it. This suggested that it might a job for regression. I asked her to think about what the paua might be feeling. She said it was fear. I developed the feeling of fear. "Think of the first time you ever had that fear". She came out with a memory where she was a little child running away from people trying to kill her. She had to hide away from the light.

I did INNER CHILD work with her. We found that frightened little girl and comforted her. Eventually I got her back to adult. She said that she felt the little girl merging with her, but just before that happened she and the girl, called Grace, smashed the paua with hammers.

Afterwards, we discussed what it all meant. She thought it was all about hiding in fear in a wardrobe when her dad was on a rampage.

She realized that it was real memory. Things at home changed. But she never let go of that fear. That was the basis of her lifetime anxiety.

 

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havening

How to use Havening in hypnotherapy

How to do Havening 

The whole havening process is simple and takes only a few minutes.

Set up for Havening

  1. Get your client to think of their problem, the issue that they want to deal with. Get them to say aloud a word or phrase that represents that problem. Ask the client to put a number on the feeling, with ten being the most distressing.
  2. Tell your client to clear their mind, or imagine something pleasant.

Havening tapping

3. Ask your client to start tapping lightly on their own collarbones with both hands, and while they are tapping and keeping their head still,

a.  open and close their eyes twice.

b.  with their eyes open, look to the right, then left

c. look down to their left, then down to their right.

d. rotate their eyes once clockwise, and once anticlockwise.

e. tell the client to stop tapping.

Havening Stroking

4. Tell them to close their eyes. Get your client to fold their arms across their chest.

5. Ask your client to imagine [first visualization: going up a flight of stairs].

a. With each step they [first audio: count out loud from one to 20].

b. As they are counting, you count along with them, and you gently stroke the sides of their upper arms 20 times.

Repeat the Havening Stroking

6. Ask your client to rate their feeling now on the 1 -10 scale.

If it has not reduced enough, repeat step 5a and 5b as many times as you need to.

But replace the [visualization] with another visualization such as [skipping twenty times].

Replace the [auditory] with something else such as [humming Happy Birthday aloud]

Final Havening Release

When there is no further change to your client's rating number

7. Tell your client to open their eyes, drop their arms, and relax.

8. Ask your client to rotate their eyes clockwise and anticlockwise, then close their eyes.

9. As the final step, you stroke the side of your clients arms again five times, and on the fifth stroke say "Let it go now".

10. Check with your client how they think about their problem now.

 

 

Source: http://www.hsj.gr/medicine/impact-of-a-singlesession-of-havening.php?aid=7273    accessed: 21 Sep 2018

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Ending Procrastination

Ending Procrastination

Ending a lifetime of procrastination

I was looking through some old computer text files when I came across one with the strange name of "tangerine induction". The file was about eight years old, according to the file date stamp. The file was well structured, in good English, nicely laid out in sections. And made no sense at all.

The instructions were to imagine a tangerine. The writer urged me to imagine a tangerine nestled in the palm of my hand. I was to imagine it as vividly as I could. Feel the weight, smell the aroma, feel the texture, really experience that tangerine. Then I was to throw the tangerine, in my imagination, from hand to hand.

As I was throwing it back and forward, it would allow any worries, doubts, or anxieties to just disappear. Just focus on the tangerine going from hand to hand and allow my mind to calm. Then I was to put the tangerine on the back of my head and start playing. Huh?

Ending Performance Anxiety

I did a bit more investigating, and worked out from the URL that it was from a music coach website. Then it made sense. It was actually designed to prevent performance fright. The reference to playing meant to sit at your piano or take up your guitar or whatever. Then imagine the tangerine, allow your stage fright to diminish, and just start playing. The idea of sticking it onto your head just means that it will be there with you all through the performance.

It seemed to me that this routine would probably work. What you are doing, in essence, is taking a mental problem, and visualizing your problem as an object. Then the imagined exercise of throwing the tangerine takes your mind off it. Add in a little suggestion of the fear getting smaller, and it does. In other words, by focusing on the tangerine you are not focusing on your stage fright. Believe in the tangerine and your performance anxiety will disappear.

I decided to try it. I noticed that while visualising the tangerine being thrown between my hands, I had entered a very light trance. So I decided to use that little bit of trance, and see if I could develop it.

Now I do not have performance anxiety. I am quite happy lecturing in front of a cinema sized audience without notes. What I do have, is a form of procrastination that I have never been able to get rid of. And I really don't understand it.

My Personal Procrastination Problem

When I am writing, or programming, I find that whenever I get to the point where I don't know what to do next I just feel compelled to stand up and get away from my desk. I usually go and make a cup of tea. By the time I've made the tea I have thought of what to do next, and carry on with it. Nine times out of 10 I forget about the tea and when I remember it again it's stone cold.

This would be amusing if it wasn't for the fact that I spent quite a lot of my life doing things where I don't know what to do next, such as writing an academic dissertation. This particular habit of mine must have wasted thousands of hours and made a serious dent in my productivity.

So I thought about that as I was mentally throwing my tangerine. I allowed myself to associate into the feeling that I have to get up and move away, the feeling that I get when I don't know what to do next.

Fear the Fear and accept it

To my great surprise, I began to get a much stronger feeling. And then a visualization. What I was visualising was a metal strap, the sort of thing that is used to hold large bundles of timber together, or as reinforcing around industrial cardboard boxes. This strap was a pale green colour. And I was trying to get the two pieces apart.

I have no idea what this strap represents. So I focused on when this was happening. I got a very strong feeling that I was young. This was happening when I was a boy. What I was feeling was a terrible anxiety about not knowing what to do next. And then I felt my head tilting back.

I got the distinct impression that I was a little boy looking up, the way children do at adults. And then I got this overwhelming fear that I was going to get punished for not having done something. I knew I was going to get punished because I didn't know what to do next about this strap thing.

In my mind, I was then running away and trying to hide in a corner, behind a wooden kitchen chair. And this unidentified adult was coming at me, going to hurt me, punish me. I was totally filled with fear and my only desire was to get away from there.

I had found the origin of my procrastination behavior. I actually did have a bad childhood, and got punished often. I have absolutely no conscious memory of this particular incident.

Ending Procrastination

Then I thought to myself, "I'm a psychologist. Why don't I just get rid of this the way I would with a client?" Almost immediately, I imagined myself as an adult going into that room where the child was, finding that child and comforting him. I empowered the child to stand up and throw the chair at the adult.

I then filled the child with a feeling of power, almost rage, that saw the child sweeping the adult out of there. Then I found myself, the child, standing in the doorway of that house. I could feel myself with enormous muscles and strength. Looking outside I heard myself saying that "this will never happen again. I will not put up with this! And then the child giant went back into the house and cleared out every room and made sure there was no threat there at all.

Since then I have noticed that when I am writing, wondering how to develop my article, that old feeling is completely gone. It just isn't there.

As I reflect on my experience of this, sharing it with you, I suppose what I'm really thinking is that it really does not take a lot of time or effort to create the mental space in which to make significant personal change. All it needs is the ability to empathise with the child's feeling and then to rescue that child. I just wish it hadn't taken me 50-odd years to do it.

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Lost Connections

Lost Connections and Depression

LOST CONNECTIONS AND DEPRESSION

Lost connections is a new book about uncovering the real causes of depression, and the unexpected solutions.

This book takes a fresh look at what really causes depression. The author, Johann Hari, tells his own story. He suffered from depression from childhood. He was on medication for decades. And it was only after decades of not getting any better that he began to question whether pharmaceuticals were the right answer to depression.

This book is the outcome of 30 years of thinking about depression. He proves that almost everything we know about depression and anxiety is wrong.

Chemical Theory of Depression

The accepted explanation of depression is that it is the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain. All mainstream efforts are aimed at correcting that chemical imbalance.

Depression is a brain disease, and Seroxat is its cure. That has been the accepted wisdom for more than 40 years. According to the Prozac theory, depression is caused by lack of serotonin in the brain. Seroxat, Paxil, and all the other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors restore your serotonin balance and banish depression. Although they don't.

Johann Hardy realised that the pills made you feel good for about six weeks, and then they didn't. The doctors' answer is to increase the dose. That makes you feel better for about six weeks, and then it stops. So the answer is to increase the dose again. And so on. Until you are walking around like a zombie. You don't have depression, but you don't have any real life either.

No support for serotonin theory

The core of this book is about how he started to question the reality of chemical treatment of depression. He realised that even after 20 years of taking the medication, he was still depressed.

So he started thinking about what other things might be associated with depression. He went to  see his doctor early on. The doctor asked about his symptoms, and prescribed him medication. And every time he saw doctor after that, they asked about his symptoms. He eventually realised that they did not ask anything else about his life.

No doctor asked what was going on in his life that moment. Nobody asked if he had had any emotional shocks. Nobody asked about money worries. As long as you believe that it is a chemical imbalance, there is no need to look for any other explanation.

The doctors assumed that all his troubles are the result of the common chemical imbalance. In fact it was the other way round. It is the emotional shocks, and economic circumstances, that give you depression.

Depression is in your environment

The rest of the book examines two things. One, the results of the chemical imbalance theory. And two, the factors that really cause depression.

The first few chapters are a detailed analysis of the astonishing rise in antidepressant prescription. At the time of writing one person five in the US is on some sort of drug for a psychiatric problem. This is an incredible level of drug consumption.

Debunking serotonin

The analysis looks at what is driving this level of consumption. He details the vast profits made by pharmaceutical companies, and the incentives for doctors and hospitals to keep prescribing these things. That story is well known.

What is not well known is the hidden truth. there is not one shred of evidence to actually show serotonin has any connection whatsoever to depression. The entire industry is built on a lie. Every scientific study that has tried to find a connection has failed.

His first breakthrough was to realize that depression and anxiety are simply different aspects of the same thing. They are always found together. When one goes up the other goes up. When one goes down the other goes down. They are not separate illnesses.

The second was to realize that unhappiness and depression are strongly related. There is a continuum between unhappiness and depression and anxiety.

The nine causes of depression and anxiety

It is not all in your head. The cause of depression is in your environment. His researches showed that there are nine interconnected environmental issues which are leading to an increase in depression and anxiety for everyone.

The first cause is disconnection from meaningful work.

People who hate their jobs, people who can't see any point what the doing, have stepped on to the conveyor belt towards depression.

The second cause is disconnection from other people.

Human beings evolved from groups of apes. Humans are happiest when they're in a group. But most of us lead fairly solitary lives. The nuclear family is quite different from the way humans used to live. Most of us have lost the warm interconnections of an extended family and even a village. Social isolation is a driver of depression.

The loss of meaningful values is the third cause of depression.

Society has changed so much that the principal leisure activity is now buying stuff. Our principal social actions are about meaningless fluff on social media. People are driven by extrinsic values, that is, we do things for rewards, physical rewards mostly. Intrinsic values are things that we do because we love it. The Western world has become obsessed with extrinsic values. And depression is the price.

The fourth cause childhood trauma.

This is widely understood. An unhappy childhood leads to an unhappy adult. Childhood trauma is one of the most obvious indicators of depression and anxiety. Children who have been sexually abused, emotionally abused, or neglected are at very high risk of depression. Nothing to do with genetics or brain function. The scientific results are quite simple. The more types of childhood abuse you had, the more likely you are to have depression.

Disconnection from respect

Studies with baboon society showed that the lowest member of the hierarchy was constantly stressed. The highest member of the anxiety was also highly stressed if his position was threatened. Other research showed that the more social distance there is between the haves and the have-nots, the greater the prevalence of mental illness. There is much more mental illness in the USA then there is in an egalitarian society like Norway.

Cause six is disconnection from the natural world.

Spending a couple of hours in the natural woodland has a remarkable effect on people's feelings. This can be measured by the stress hormones in the blood. Living in modern cities is the exact opposite of that.

Cause seven is disconnection from a hopeful or secure future.

The more insecure your future income or personal security is, the more likely you are to have depression.

The length of time you have been under stress is the eighth cause.

Your brain is constantly changing to meet your needs. Your brain changes as you suffer life changing challenges. If this goes on for long enough, your brain changes to deal with it. Part of the brain become more sensitive to bad things and parts that are sensitive to good things get smaller. This leads to the common feeling of being stuck in anxiety and depression. The good news is that once the external factors begin changing your brain can repair itself.

The ninth cause is genetics.

There is a clear and proven correlation between certain genes and the tendency to become depressed. However having the gene only gives you a tendency. If the other eight factors don't happen, then you are no more likely to get depression and anyone else.

 

"Depression isn't a disease. Depression is a normal response to abnormal life experiences."

 

Hari, Johann. (2018) Lost Connections. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 978-4-1-4088-7868-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

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remember your dreams

How to remember your dreams

How to remember your dreams

Everyone dreams, every night. In fact on average we dream about every hour and a half. The longest dreams last between 30 and 45 minutes. And yet many people say they never dream. What they actually mean is that they cannot recall their dreams. If you would like to remember your dreams, there are some simple things you can do to make it happen.

Keep a dream journal

There is a time between beginning to wake up and being fully awake. This is the ideal time to record your dreams. It has been shown that the best way of remembering your dreams is to keep a dream diary. All you need is something to write on that you keep other side of your bed. It's probably best to get some sort of notebook. That way it keeps all the dreams together, in sequence, and you are less likely to misplace it.

When you first wake, think about what you were dreaming about, and immediately write a description of it it in your dream diary. Make a habit of doing it every day. Even if you can't remember the dream in detail, write down a word or a phrase that comes to mind.

As soon as you start, write down as much as you remember. Usually after you put down a few lines, you will recall more of the dream. Write that down, and you'll get more of the dream. Keep writing it until you think there is no more. Don't worry about spelling, grammar, or sense, or anything else. Don't worry about how weird it seems. Just write down whatever you remember. If you do this every day, over time you will be training your mind into recalling your dreams.

Tell yourself that you can dream

If you never, or seldom, have dreams then you need to tell your subconscious mind what you want. All you have to do is, when you go to bed, gently bang your head three times on the pillow, and say "I will wake up when I dream". It may take a couple of nights to have an effect but for most people this form of gentle self hypnosis allows them to become much more aware of their dreams.

Give your dream a name

After you have written down your dream, give it a name. If you don't have time right now to go over the dream in detail, then the name will remind you later on. You'll also find that when you go back and look over your dreams for a few weeks, you will probably find the same themes appearing in the names of your dreams.

Draw a rich picture

It is often useful to draw a picture of your dream. Just do a little drawing of one of the symbols in the dream. Then do another and link the first one to it, and then just keep adding more and more things which will remind you of your dream. You can also add in words and anything else you think will remind you. As you draw more and more of the dream will come into memory.

Use a mind map

If you don't have time for a written description, you just don't feel like writing it out in sentences, then use a mind map. A mind map has one or two words as the central idea. Write it down and draw little oval round it. Then draw three or four look little curvy lines coming off that circle. At the end of each line draw another oval. Then add more words which are the relationship to the central word. Draw more lines either from the second of also from the original oval. Eventually you end up with a a map of 'bubbles' containing the keywords of your dream.

The habit of writing down your dreams as soon as you have them will remind your mind how important it is to you. That will encourage your mind to waking up when you are having a dream. Eventually, you will find that your wake up several times a night immediately after having had a dream. Then you know down your dream in as much detail as you want to, and just go back to sleep.

Very often when you wake up fully in the morning you'll be surprised to see two or three dreams described that you don't even remember writing down.

 

 

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find past lives

Why people can’t find past lives

My reason for wanting to visit you is that I am interested in my past life regression (if any) and a stronger connection/understanding of Higher Power and Spiritual awareness.

This client seemed quite bubbly and outgoing. She was very well dressed. Actually dressed very young. I was much surprised later when she said that she was 50 years old. I got the impression later that it was all a façade.

She put out this image of being up, and alert, and outgoing but in fact she felt quite differently inside. She feels disconnected from everything and everybody. That longing for connection is why she thought it might be good to find past lives.

Hypnosis Childhood Regression

I was not at all sure that she was a candidate for past life regression. Nothing in what she told me about herself and her feelings seem to have anything to do with the standard past life regression requests.

I decided to do the regression with her anyway. I took her into trance using a walk along a river. "You will find something significant from your younger life that has a bearing on what you are feeling today." After a long time, she told me that she was seeing a horse.

I questioned her about the horse. It was a horse that her parents had given her. I asked her how she felt about the horse, did she love the horse? "No, I just feel confused". She had no idea what to do with the horse. She could not ride it, she knew nothing about horses.

When she had been given this horse all she felt was confusion. Her parents had taken down to this place in the country and just said to her "this is your horse". No preparation, no training. no nothing. Apparently this was quite typical of her upbringing. Her parents really were quite clueless about children. Her parents were very cold and distant people.

Regression to past life

I tried to take her back to a time before this present life. She told me she was getting nothing, feeling nothing. I pressed on with finding a life.

Still nothing. Then I asked her what she was feeling. She told me she felt small and lonely. I used that feeling to start an Inner Child therapy. But part way through she said "I am not seeing any child" so I stopped that and deepened her again.
Since she was already in trance I decided to try to work on her feeling of loss of connection.

Parts therapy

I took her to a place where she was floating in a void. In that place a Presence told her that it was the part of her that controlled all the other parts. It showed her the part of her that was causing the connection problems.  She visualized getting other parts of her to repair the damaged part that could not connect.  She was able to repair the part of her that was causing the connection problems.
I then brought her out of trance we talked about her experience for a while.

Holding on to control

She described how as she was going into trance she felt herself constantly fighting against what I was saying. This matched what I observed as I was inducing her. I lead her into trace with my standard induction of  Breathing, Favorite place, Stairs. She seemed very susceptible, except that she was one of those people who keep moving around. After the stairs induction  I always test with an eye catalepsy. I suggested that she could not open her eyes, and then suggested that she test it. She was unable to open her eyes. But about 10 seconds later she did briefly open her eyes then close them again.

I then decided to be absolutely sure she was in trance, so I did a beach induction. I asked her to imagine lying on a beach somewhere comfortable, relaxed, nothing to do. Then I asked her to focus on the waves rolling up the beach and back down again. I suggested that as the waves pulled away she felt herself being pulled with them. But every wave was taking her deeper and deeper.

She told me that as I was saying that she could feel herself being pulled down by the waves but was frantically clawing back up again all the time I was talking to her. I then do the vanishing numbers induction and she did finally go into trance. She clearly does not like giving up control.

The real reason for lack of connection

Then I started asking about her own feelings. I asked her "would you say your mind is always busy?" She said, "oh yes".
I showed her the anxiety questionnaire and she agreed that she was all over it. I suggested to her that her feeling of disconnection was much more likely to be due to a mild form of depression, rather than having anything to do with a past life. I asked her "would your mother be on that list of symptoms?". At that point she told me "I was adopted".

We then talked about her relationships with her brother and the couple who brought them up. She said that she always felt quite distant as a child. I explained that this was a symptom of dysthymia. We then spent 30 minutes talking about how depression affects her.

Why people can't find past lives

I think that the undiagnosed depression completely explains her feelings of not belonging anywhere. It also explains her need to never give up control.

I have been doing quite a few past life regression is recently. Comparing my notes on each of them, I have come to the tentative conclusion that people who have no past life, or at least are not willing to allow themselves to submit to the idea of a past life, are actually people who are trying to keep control of their own consciousness. Their desire to stay in control is incompatible with letting go enough to experience past lives.

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