Do you have second hand anxiety?


I had a client who came to me for anxiety: it turned out to be second hand anxiety. The cause of her anxiety is direct result of her upbringing, which was a direct result of events.
Her father was Polish, and was conscripted into the army early in WWII. His unit was captured by the Germans. He was imprisoned in a labour camp. Thousands died through brutality, starvation and disease.

The Russians over ran the camp but instead of liberating them all, he was conscripted into their tank battalion. As part of that battalion  he endured the horrors of fighting on the Eastern Front right up to the end. Eventually they let him go due to pneumonia. 

The result of his privations and captivity was that he had lung disease for the rest of his life. He also had survivors' guilt, night terrors and PTSD. So she was brought up in a household where her father was constantly in and out of hospital, he was often absent or lying sick in his room, there was never enough money, and constant worry about the future.

My client had a lifetime of caring for him, not having a real dad, and not having a settled home life. She became anxious and constantly stressed. Most likely this triggered her own life long anxiety. It also led to her becoming a professional nurse.
What is notable about all this is that my client is in her late sixties, and still suffering from something that happened in the 1930's, long before she was born. The evils of the second world war are still with us today.
It is quite remarkable how long historical events can reach into daily life. And if my client's children are in turn affected by her behavior then they, in their old age, will still be suffering for what happened over a century before.

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Solution Focused Therapy

Solution Focused Therapy

How can Solution Focused Therapy be used in a normal hypnosis session?

The essence of Solution Focused Therapy is the idea that it is the client who is the expert, not the therapist. All forms of psychotherapy involve talking. Hypnotherapy is unusual in that a lot of the time the talking is one sided. Hypnosis is not a conversation; the therapist is talking, but a client in trance only responds when prompted.

However, the hypnotherapist needs to know what to talk about. So a session typically consists of first finding out what the client wants. Finding out exactly what the client needs is one of the key skills of hypnosis.

There are many different techniques that can be used to extract what the client's real needs quickly and accurately. One of the most useful is Solution Focused Therapy.

Solution Focused Therapy

SFT focuses on identifying the best solution for the client. It does not ask about past problems, or how the client got into the situation they are in. SFT focuses on what the client wants to have happen, how they want to feel. SFT examines what can be done now, not what happened in the past.  It is about what is possible given the client's present situation.

It is based on the principle that whatever the client can do that helps in some way should be noted and encouraged. Therapy is based on the idea that it is the  client's current behavior that is causing or maintaining the problem, so keeping on doing more of the same is wrong. Therefore anything different, any change, is success.

Anything that leads away from the present unhelpful behavior is useful. The therapist's job is identify what can be changed and to help the client make that change.


Therefore, the first thing to do is to identify exactly what the client would consider a success. Then to identify what successes, of any kind, the client has had in the past and what the client can find as possible new behaviors in the present.

On this basis the hypnotherapy can incorporate things that will lead to the goal of the client. Visualization can be done featuring the client in their ideal situation, doing the things they want to do, and having the life they want to live. The therapy can also use examples of past successes to remind the client that they are resourceful, that they can succeed. That way they can zoom in on what they want to change. And then the hypnotist can use standard techniques to help the client identify key new behaviors.

That way the therapist can use the principles of SFT to make the hypnotherapy more effective.

What do you think?

How do you use Solution Focused Therapy? Is it even possible?

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self sabotage hypnosis

Self sabotage

Self sabotage stopping with hypnosis

Humans have a strange ability to self sabotage. We all know how to eat better than we do. We all know how to drive better than we do. We all do things that we know are bad for us, will stop us achieving what we want, will make us feel unhappy. And yet we still do them. Why?
What is it about humans that makes us self sabotage? I'm not thinking about suicide, that is a different issue. I'm talking about buying chocolate when you have diabetes, smoking when you know it is going to kill you, not exercising when your cardiologist tells you you must.

How can people be so disconnected from their own behavior? Take a simple thing like eating fruit. We all know we should. There is not doubt about the health benefits. Fruit is delicious. And yet, we leave the fruit and take the pastry.
I see clients who tell me that they want to stop smoking. It costs them money, makes their clothes smell, makes them outsiders, will certainly make them ill, and most likely will kill them. And yet they keep on smoking. They sabotage themselves. They stop for a while and then start again. Part of their mind is screaming at them to stop, and part of their mind rejoices in taking the next puff.

It should be simple. Just don't buy any more smokes. That's it. But it is like exercising: we all know we should, and we don't. We all know we are putting on weight, and somehow we don't care. We should get on and finish the school assignment, clean the house, tidy the garden: we know how to do it, we know it needs done, and yet we don't.
Procrastination is the name for not doing something we should.
What is the right word for keeping on doing something we shouldn't be doing?

Shame and how to let it go.

I got an email from someone asking about what techniques to use to deal with chronic shame.

Shame is a feeling about who you are. It is a belief that something about you, something core to who you are, is permanently wrong, bad, not fitting with what other people expect.

Nobody is born with shame. Shame is something that other people put there. You might have done something, real or imagined, that other people told you was unforgivable, or that you personally decided other people could never forgive or forget. When you believe that your actions are unforgivable, then you walk around with that shame permanently on you.

However, nothing is unforgivable. There is nothing a person has done that they can not make amends for. And in most cases, the shame is something imposed by the person on to themselves. It is a personal belief, created and maintained and carried by that person. It is in fact that the person cannot forgive themself.

So the way to get rid of the feeling is find a way to get forgiveness.

There are many techniques available.
The right approach depends on whether the shame is due to something you did and remember, or if it is some general feeling not attached to any particular action.

The NLP technique of reframing might work to put the action into a different perspective.
Gestalt change techniques can be applied directly to the feeling in your body, and change the feeling.
Ordeal therapy might be appropriate here, depending on your personal spiritual beliefs.
Metaphor in hypnosis can be used to get a Power Figure to give you the forgiveness you need. That is the one that I would try first.

However, everyone is unique, and it is always best to seek help from some experienced therapist who can spend time finding the source.

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Problem Clients

Dealing with Problem Clients

Problem clients are inevitable. Therapists have to be ready to deal with whatever comes through the door. However sometimes it is not just how to fix what they want that is the issue. Occasionally it is the person themself who is the problem.
I had a woman come to see me yesterday. She gave no indication on the online booking of what her problem was. She came in and sat down. I said 'I will just turn off my cellphone', as an indirect suggestion that she might want to do the same. And I got a glare as if I should have done that before she arrived.
My custom is to get the client to write their name and email address on my clipboard so that I have a reminder of the name during the session and doing a little task often gives a nervous client time to settle down. This client challenged me and said 'You already have that!'

Warning signs of a problem client

We moved on and I asked her 'Is is OK if I record this session?' And I got an instant 'No, it isn't'. When I asked why not, she replied 'I don't want anyone else listening to what I say'. Very forceful, and very aggressive.
It has been my experience that I get about two clients a year who don't want the session recorded. Occasionally the client wants to talk about delicate sexual matters, and that's OK. It is also my experience that every problem client I have ever had was one who refused to allow the session to be recorded. Refusal is now an instant warning flag to me.

I considered terminating the session right then, but decided to continue with the session to see whether I could retrieve the situation. I asked what her problem was and she said 'Drinking. It is ruining my relationship'. I then asked her whey she just didn't stop. Answer 'I don't know'. Why do you think you drink? Answer 'I don't know'. What do you get out of it? 'I don't know'. And so it went on. Every attempt to access her feelings was blocked. As I started to explore her behavior and how and when she drank I kept pointing out inconsistencies. For example, 'I can't stop drinking' and 'I only drink at weekends'. Pushing further into why she was drinking, total aggressive defensiveness came out. Then I got to what harm her drinking was doing to her relationship if her partner also drank, the real reason emerged. 'I snap at him when I am drinking and say things that I wouldn't say when I am sober.'

This began to sound to me like an extreme case of Black and White thinking. I gently probed for evidence of depressive behavior. She immediately went into defensive mode. Every attempt to suggest that she might have some aspect or other was strongly denied. And not just denied: it was refuted in a way that made it clear that she thought I was an idiot. Every question was thrown back at me, and I began to realize exactly what was happening in her relationship.
And I also realized that my first instinct was right: it was time to get her out of my office. Even though I recognized that it was simply her subconscious defending her psyche against any attempt by me to get near whatever the real cause was, the way she was doing it was affecting my psyche as well.

Transference from the problem client

Traditional psychoanalysis warns against something called Transference. This is the tendency of the analyst to take on the personality and mimic the issues of their patients. The degree of transference depends on the strength of the personality of both parties. A strong patient and weak analyst will transfer in one direction, a strong analyst and week patient will transfer in the other direction.
This is not normally a problem in hypnotherapy because hypnotherapists usually only see clients once or twice, whereas psychoanalysts could see their patients for hundreds of sessions. However it is the strength of the personality that matters. In this case the woman was so emotionally aggressive that I found myself reacting to her words and attitude, and I could feel myself tightening up inside as she hooked into my own archaic triggers. If I had let the session continue we both would have continued giving stronger and stronger responses to what the other said.
So I terminated the session and wished her success in finding someone else to help.

I hope she does find a way out of it.

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Hypnosis Tarot

Is New Age Therapy just for the gullible?

Are New Age therapy clients too gullible? I recently went to a Psychic Fair in my local town. It was well organised and well attended. All the usual New Age Therapy services were there: Aura Readings, Palmistry, Crystal therapy, Healing touch, Dream interpretation, Fortune tellers and various other New Age types.
The attendees were what looked like ordinary people, mostly women. They were getting their fortunes told or watching their auras drawn and everyone seemed well satisfied.

On the New Age assembly line

And that was what bothered me. I understand about placebos, and I am comfortable that people sometimes need to believe in something a bit out of the ordinary. I also believe that some of these modalities are helpful and worthwhile. But previous places I had been to all involved a bit more scene setting. I expected low light, whale music, private rooms, costumes and exotic symbols. This one seemed more like an assembly line. Everyone was in one big open room. They were queuing to book appointments. Everyone  waiting their turn like a motor licence agency, moving in when the last person finished while the seat was still warm. To make it look even more industrial, the time was prominently displayed on a clock facing the client.

Fleecing the New Age gullible

All these people were paying quite substantial sums of money without, apparently, ever questioning what they were getting or how effective it was. They also didn't seem to be much bothered about who was delivering it, or if they were qualified to offer it in the first place.
It was the Tarot card readers who got me. I use Tarot myself. Sometimes they the best way of reaching a particular client. But it has to be done with conviction and confidence.

What I saw was an extreme case of fleecing the gullible. One reader was laying out the cards, talking to the client, and then without the slightest sign of embarrassment looking up the book to see what the cards meant! The client just sat there while the 'psychic' read out what the book said.

In my view, if you are going to sell people nonsense, you should at least put some effort into it. Surely the client is entitled to believe that you have some sort of legitimate connection to the New Age universe? Would you continue attending a doctor if that doctor was looking up your symptoms on the Internet?

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Hypnosis Ethics Code of Practice

Hypnosis Ethics Code of Practice

Hypnosis and Ethics

I was reading an offer to me to sign up for a Gastric Band Hypnotherapy Treatment Workshop. This is for practicing hypnotists and insists that they be experienced. It also insists that they already adhere to a recognized code of practice.
I think that everyone should follow a code of practice. They are very good things. However all the ones I see are primarily concerned with practices that protect the therapist. They are all about how the therapist will behave in order that certifying organisation does not get sued. They usually outlaw sexual impropriety, disrespect for the client, criticizing other therapists, and other good things. No harm in that.

Ethics is actually about the client's rights

However, there is seldom much in the way of protection for the client. It seems to me that what is missing in most Codes is protection from exploitation of the client. There is nothing wrong with hypnotizing someone to believe that they have had Gastric Band surgery - if it works. But if it doesn't work, or if only a tiny percentage of clients benefit, then it surely becomes an Ethics issue. Is it not unethical to advertise and encourage clients to undergo hypnotherapy if it is usually a waste of money?
I have yet to see a Code of Ethics that says that the therapist agrees to do a follow up with every client, and requires the therapist to stop doing the procedure if it doesn't work.

Ethics and what the client wants

The counter argument is that if a client wants some procedure and believes that it will help them, then provided it actually isn't going to do any harm, the client is entitled to get whatever treatment they ask for.
A further argument is that most therapy is actually placebo, and it doesn't matter what you do. Provided the client believes in it, the therapist doesn't have to believe in it. If the effectiveness of a treatment is actually dependent on the client's belief system, then aromatherapy, fortune telling and homeopathy are all valid, and do not need any scientific validation.
Personally, I feel very uncomfortable with this position.

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Overload Induction Script

Is there an Earworm in your head?

Is there a maddening tune going round in your head?

Most of us from time to time will find a song going through our head that stays there and you can't get rid of it. It is sometimes called an 'earworm'. I have always been curious as to the origin of the earworm and why we have them. I find that I get the same small set of songs popping into my head at random times. So I got to wondering if they really were random.
I am a hypnotist, and I have a deep interest in the unconscious. I believe that the unconscious mind determines conscious behavior. So to me, the origins of the 'earworms' must some from some process in the unconscious that from time to time leaks out into the conscious. My theory is that if you have a word, or a phrase or a song in your head, then that must be associated with some unconscious process going on.

Those repetitive tunes have meaning

So I monitored what songs they were, and what was happening when they appeared. I sometimes get the same song three times a day, but I can also get that song only after months have passed. To me, there is nothing obvious about the actual words used, or the chorus or anything else that would explain why it appears or what made it relevant.
But after thinking about two particular songs, I think I have managed to work out what is going on, for me at least.

One common song I get in my head is the old Simon and Garfunkel classic "Keep the customer satisfied" I used to worry about how some of the lyrics applied to me, such as 'I get slandered, libeled' or 'one step away from the county line', which made no sense at all in my life.

Find the key phrase

But then I realized that the song appears immediately after something unexpected and good happens to me. The key phrase is the first line "Gee but it's great to be back home". It has nothing to do with being back home - I never left. But I think what is happening is that as I am feeling "Gee it's great" in response to some event in my life, that unconscious feeling is triggering the onset of the song, and it continues playing over and over in my head until the feeling passes.
I get the same thing with 'Raindrops keep falling on my head'. The key to the onset of this song is when I thought that I had done something wrong, or things were going badly. But then I realise that it is actually turning out OK. The key phrase here is "Nothing's worrying me". That is exactly how I feel unconsciously, and that is the feeling that the song encapsulates.

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hypnosis appointment

How do you deal with a Missed Appointment?

missed appointment

Missed hypnosis appointment

When hypnotherapists get together it always comes round to talking about appointment cancellations and no-shows and what to do about it. Some therapists want their clients to sign legal agreements with various penalties for not turning up for their appointment, or with rules for how much notice they have to give. I think the bad feeling that comes from trying to enforce appointments outweighs any benefit. I don't do it.

I have no-shows just like everybody else, but I just accept it as part of normal business. You will have cancellations, missed appointments, and bad payers in every business. You are especially likely to have them when your clients are mostly people with psychological problems that they need help with.
So if missed appointment is always going to be a problem, what is the right policy?

For no shows, my policy is to try to minimize it occurring, and then to just accept it when it happens. I use a commercial online booking service that lets the client select the appointment time they want from a show of available times. The process collects their email address and sends them online stuff to read about hypnosis, what they have to do before the session, answers to common questions, and instructions on how to get there, parking etc. The software sends them a reminder the day before or on the Friday for a weekend appointment. I find that the reminder is the most effective way of avoiding no-shows.

Cancellation is a deliberate action by the client. The service I use allows the client to reschedule appointments or to cancel bookings altogether. They can change their bookings as often as they want. I think the best policy is to be flexible and to allow the client to select the time that is best for them, accepting that sometimes they have to cancel at short notice.

When I client doesn't turn up I usually have lots of paperwork I have to do anyway, and I can do it during the free time that suddenly appears, instead of after I have seen the last client. I don't see a missed appointment as a big deal.

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Dave Mason PhD


Welcome to

This site,, is the revised and expanded version of was in operation for about eight years. Before that the site was known as

I started shortly after I started doing hypnotherapy. At that time I had no intention of becoming a hypnotherapist, as I had a full-time job as a university professor. I used the site largely for my own interest. I was studying hypnosis, practicing techniques, and learning how things worked.  It was a way of gathering my notes together. So I started organizing my studies under headings and decided to put them online.

Over the years as an academic I have found that the best way for me to learn something is to teach it to someone else. So as I studied a a topic, I would open a webpage for that topic and write it as if I was explaining it to some intelligent person with no background in hypnosis. Over time, and by that I mean four or five years, more and more topics were added and the site began to attract attention.

Hypnosis Scripts

I began to get emails and enquiries from people all around the world. In particular I got requests for scripts. It was obvious to me that most of the scripts on the Internet were out of date. As an academic, I am used to researching and investigating. What I discovered was that many of the scripts in circulation are incredibly old, some as old as the 1920s and 1930s. There were better ones, but these were mostly copied out of well-known textbooks without acknowledging their source.

And a lot of them were written by people who really didn't know what they were doing. I discovered that there were dozens and dozens of scripts in circulation which consisted of little more than a string of direct suggestion such as "You are now a non-smoker. You do not like smoking. Never smoke again. Smoking turns you off." This type of pseudo-hypnosis script shows no knowledge of hypnosis theory and no evidence that they have been used by practicing hypnotists.

Developing better scripts

So I started looking into what makes a good script. And I asked myself "what makes a script effective?". I then spent about three years part-time researching and studying how and why the words used in hypnosis actually work. On the way I investigated metaphor therapy, Gestalt therapy, direct suggestion, NLP, aversion therapy, parts therapy, clean language and every other hypnosis technique.

While testing out all these techniques on my clients I started to write scripts so that I would have the exact structure and wording I wanted. I of course wrote these in a word processor, so it was just as easy to put them onto the website. In a fairly short time I published dozens and dozens of  new original scripts and made them free for anyone to use. 

Commercial Script writing

I then got a very cheeky email from someone telling me it was too much trouble for him to cut-and-paste the scripts himself. He demanded that I send him all the scripts in a single document. 

Well, this got me thinking. "Maybe I could bundle up the scripts and sell them as a collection?". I did that, and was amazed to immediately get half a dozen orders. This then developed into a nice little sideline and I wrote more and more and more scripts.

Spoken script downloads

Then I got requests to have the scripts delivered in a spoken MP3 recording. I made some trial recordings and send them out to people. They were well received. And then I discovered a problem. When I recorded the phrase "a recording by" it was indistinguishable from the phrase "a recording by". Because they sounded the same, in promoting my recordings I was actually promoting someone else's website. The name hypknowsis was just a little bit too clever.

So I transferred the website to a new website name that wouldn't be confused. It was called I updated the website added a lot more material and hundreds more scripts. And it was very successful.

Arrival of the pirates

In fact it was so successful that it got copied and pirated all over the Internet. Other wannabes jumped on the name keyhypnosis and registered similar sounding names. Then I discovered that the easiest way for anyone to get my scripts was just to search for the term "key hypnosis scripts" in Google. That would take you to half a dozen sites where you could download my scripts for free.

Dozens of talentless nobodies had figured out the fastest way to look cool was to steal my material and say they wrote it. It got even worse. A surprising number of newcomers to hypnosis decided  that the best way to build a good website cheap was to cut-and-paste pages from my website. Sites all over the Internet had complete pages reproduced from my site. They even have the nerve to put copyright and their name on the bottom of it. To top it off, I discovered a site in India had copied my entire site into the local language. Without, of course, mentioning that it was a rip-off.

Imitation is the sincerest form of showing no talent

It wasn't just scripts that got pirated. I developed affirmations as an aid to therapy and created over six hundred brand-new original affirmations. I posted them into a special section of the website. And of course there are now literally dozens and dozens of blogs and websites all over the Internet listing my affirmations.

Somebody once said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Somebody else said it is the sincerest form of showing that you have no talent whatsoever. On the Internet, for every one person producing original work, there are 200 people copying it. And almost no way of stopping them.

Defeat by the pirates

I prided myself on the fact that every word on my site is original, researched and based on the best current knowledge about hypnosis. And every word was getting stolen. I left the key hypnosis site up but stopped developing it.

I lost heart. There is just no point in writing original scripts and developing metaphors when they are just going to be  copied and pasted the next day on other sites. This experience is not unique to me, but it really is going to be an ongoing threat to anyone producing original material.


With the site I am back in the game. I now have more time and I have started developing new material again. So I am doing two things. I am redesigning the site to put more emphasis on selling scripts. And I'm going to relentlessly pursue the people who steal my material.

I will greatly expand the site, and revise everything as I transfer them. I have also moved the entire site into WordPress. It is updated to a fresh and modern look. The site is completely mobile-responsive so that it can be viewed on portable devices. and the future

The site will be developed to become the premier hypnosis site on the Internet. My aim is to make it the go-to place to get everything you want to know about hypnosis. And the place for the best hypnosis scripts.

I look forward to hearing from you.


David Mason


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