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By ianfielder, Dec 22 2018 12:07PM

The pressures of Christmas, the self-reflection of New Year - it takes a lot out of folks! It's really common for therapists to get an influx of new clients between November and February, so we're all well geared up for the kinds of issues which crop up for people around this period. If you want to know more about hypnotherapy there's lots of information on our website which will help you through the process.

Around this time of year, the question we're all asking one another is 'What are your New Year's resolutions?' So much so that many of us make up resolutions just to field the query, even if we have no intention of following through! We promise our friends and ourselves that next year will be the year in which we finally get fit, stick to a diet, mend bridges, take steps towards our dreams, and generally become the person that we'd like to be (or, perhaps, that they'd like us to be).

There's nothing wrong with setting goals for yourself. Setting achievable goals can be a valuable aspect of a steady and healthy self-improvement plan. But, sometimes, pressure to make a New Years' Resolution can feel like pressure to fundamentally change who you are as a person - immediately and for the better. This can lead to negative reflection on the kind of person you are and the direction your life is taking at the moment. And this kind of gloomy rumination can exacerbate mental health issues.

What's more, resolutions made at New Year are actually more likely to fail than resolutions made at any other time of the year. These often inevitable failures can come as a huge blow to self-esteem and mental health. When a New Year's resolution fails, many people feel that they have failed the entire year, let themselves down, and will never be the person they envisaged with such high hopes back in January.

If you're feeling the pressure, or worried that New Year and its resolutions could be triggering for you, here a few tips which might help you to cope.

*Think small. You may well have big hopes, goals, and dreams. But, when it comes to setting resolutions, try to chop these into bite-sized chunks. Go for small, manageable resolutions which you know that you can achieve. This isn't to say that you aren't capable of achieving bigger things - you probably are! But nobody can predict what's upcoming in the year ahead, so it makes sense to leave yourself room to improve rather than to set yourself up for potential failure. So, for example, rather than vowing to lose two dress sizes in the next year, resolve to lose one pound a month (or an achievable equivalent). That way, if you lose two pounds you'll feel proud of yourself, but it also won't feel like a major resolution failure if something crops up which disrupts your diet and exercise regime one month.

*Stay rational. The chimes between the end of December and the beginning of January don't actually mark any kind of physical, metaphysical, or psychological switch. It's a portion of time, like any other. No magical processes start working on the stroke of midnight, and we don't actually become new people as the year changes. This may sound obvious, but many people get caught up in the excitement and rush of the New Year festivities, and forget about the hard work which keeping to resolutions actually takes. The excitement can lead people to make unrealistic resolutions, which don't actually stand up to the rigours of our normal lives. Stay grounded, and don't get carried away with the rush of your New Year's party.

*Go easy on yourself. Most New Years' resolutions fail. It's hard to maintain focus on a single goal for an entire year. But this doesn't make it any easier when we realise that all of our good January intentions have come to nothing. Many people feel like abject failures, and berate themselves for what they see as their lack of willpower, lack of sticking power, greed, or of fundamental character flaws. This kind of self-flagellation is very unhealthy, and can lead to serious mental health decline. If your New Years' resolutions do fall by the wayside, tell yourself that this is a normal and natural thing. You probably had more important things to concentrate on. Let them go, or learn from the experience and formulate more achievable ways of reaching your goals. Don't beat yourself up!

By ianfielder, Oct 15 2018 08:14AM

Life stress events- things like loss of a job, death of a loved one and getting divorced (or married) raise the risk of getting sick. All sorts of other life events also generate stress, with possible negative health effects ranging from catching a cold to major depression to a fatal heart attack.

Certain events inflict severe psychological (and physiological) stress. Death of a spouse, getting diagnosed with a terminal illness and separation of children from parents are indisputably "major stressful life events." But no clear rules have been established to define what features place an event in that category (which makes stress research complicated, with often ambiguous results).

Some researchers hold that stress magnitude hinges on how much "adaptation" is required to cope with it (which is why marriage can be considered especially stressful). A second theory gauges stressfulness as the amount of threat or harm an event poses. Some experts view stress as a mismatch between demands and resources. A fourth view regards "interruption of goals" as the prime feature of a life stress event. These theories about stress-event criteria aren't mutually exclusive but on the whole the "threat or harm" perspective is the most commonly accepted.

Recent stressful life events (major and minor) psychologists may ask about to gauge a person's stress level include everything from the death of a spouse to taking on a mortgage to getting a speeding ticket. Life events commonly included on stress questionnaires may be objectively bad or good, major or minor. They include the death of a spouse, divorce, the loss of a job - or even a big achievement. Some stress checklists focus more on traumatic events, such as assaults; others ask about events that in the last year have brought major or minor changes to everyday life, requiring adaptation or readjustments, even if they are seemingly beneficial (getting a promotion). Some important events related to illness are those that affect social status, self-esteem, identity and physical well-being. Not all are equal in effect, and there's much variation in how people respond.

Depression and heart disease are commonly associated with stressful events, but stress's influence extends to other health problems as well. Stress can boost anxiety and discourage healthy practices such as exercising and eating well. At the same time stress can instigate bad behaviours such as smoking and drinking. All these responses can have negative impacts on important organs (brain, heart, liver), possibly resulting in multiple health problems either by triggering the onset or accelerating the progression of a disease.

Personal traits and situation and the circumstances in which a person lives make them more or less at risk for life stress. Neighbourhoods with low socioeconomic status are sites of higher-than-average levels of stressful events, and people with low personal socioeconomic status have more risk of encountering violence, death of a child and divorce. One stressful event - such as loss of a job - can lead to others (such as loss of income, moving or divorce).

The magnitude of a stressful event's impact depends a lot on the nature of the stress. Most damaging, research indicates, are experiences that threaten an individual's sense of competence or status, striking at a person's core identity. Loss of status, losing a job and interpersonal conflict with spouses or close friends can all exacerbate health problems, from raising the risk of depression to worsening high blood pressure and reducing resistance to respiratory infection.

Chronic stress may have a persistent detrimental effect on the body's disease-fighting immune system. Acute stress, like single traumatic events, may trigger a dramatic worsening of an existing condition, such as heart disease. In that case, a sufficiently powerful stress event can induce a fatal heart attack.

Article reproduced fromthe National Hypnothearpy October 2018 newsletter

By ianfielder, Aug 23 2018 11:38AM

Research demonstrates that the support of wellbeing in the workplace has a positive impact on staff, business and organisations. It includes benefits in terms of reduced absenteeism and presenteeism as well as improved productivity.

Whilst the landscape of health and wellbeing interventions is a broad one, it can be difficult to understand 'what works': or rather, the confidence which we should place in a particular intervention that it will have a positive impact on staff health and wellbeing outcomes. This research project was commissioned by Public Health England (PHE) to begin to address this gap. The study aimed to support an understanding of the landscape of workplace wellbeing interventions and the extent and quality of evidence being collected. We hope it will enable organisations to consider better whether interventions are having a positive health outcome and how to capture and gauge the evidence.

The report presents the findings related to a set of case studies collected via an open portal. The case studies were assessed against Nesta standards of evidence. They show promising examples of how to develop an evidence base for workplace health and wellbeing initiatives across different workplace wellbeing areas.

England's business and employer communities have an exciting and unrivalled opportunity to create a step change in how they support and evidence not only the health and productivity of their workforce, but, by so doing, the health of the nation as a whole.

Key Findings

The study graded evidence of a relatively small number of interventions above a Nesta level 2.

Findings highlight interesting examples of promising practice. Substantial levels of evidence for health and wellbeing outcomes were not greatly forthcoming.

This does not mean necessarily that these interventions are less effective, but that academically rigorous methods of data collection or evaluation are not being used to underline their effectiveness.

Organisations collected a variety of data types to explore the impact of their interventions.

The data provided included health measures, business indicators, and other forms of feedback. Some interventions were able to collect data about the direct change in individuals' health and wellbeing outcomes, others focused more on perceptions and confidence in dealing with health issues.

Mental Health featured strongly amongst the submissions received.

A strong number of submissions were received on Mental Health showing the current focus on the issue by organisations. We were also encouraged to see submissions on the subjects of domestic violence, sleep and menopause. No submissions were received specifically on the subject of financial resilience or smoking. This may not necessarily mean that these topics do not feature in the wellbeing landscape, only that that they did not feature in the submission body.

The majority of case studies were submitted by providers of wellbeing.

There was a strong representation of case studies from workplace wellbeing providers. A third however were submitted by employers, highlighting the in-house resource being contributed to staff wellbeing. Submissions were received from both small and large organisations.


Small and medium sized organisations can learn from their peers to find approaches that match their size and aspirations.

The increasing focus on workplace wellbeing provision should not come at the expense of effective workplace management cultures.

The design and implementation of evaluation approaches should be borne in mind from the outset.

Qualitative and subjective evaluation methods of feedback as well as quantitative and objective data sets may support a better understanding of employee experiences of workplace wellbeing.

Organisations should not put off using basic evaluation tools to begin with: what gets measured gets done.

By ianfielder, Aug 15 2018 11:17AM

Hypnotherapy helps fight IBS symptoms. These are the findings of a thesis from Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden which proposes implementing this treatment method into the care of severe sufferers of this common disease.

Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is an very common stomach disease that manifests as abdominal pain and discomfort, disturbed bowel movements, abdominal swelling and bloating. Recent studies indicate that 10-15 percent of all Swedes suffer from IBS to varying degrees.

Yet researchers still do not know what causes the condition and no effective treatment is available for those suffering from most severe symptoms.

Studies at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, show that psychological treatment using hypnosis may offer effective, lasting relief. The studies are part of a thesis which concludes that hypnotherapy should be used in clinical care of patients with severe IBS. "We have four different studies showing that hypnotherapy helps treat IBS, even when the treatment is not provided by highly specialized hypnotherapy centres. The treatment improves gastrointestinal symptoms and quality of life, and patient satisfaction is very high. The method also makes efficient use of health care resources," says Perjohan Lindfors, doctoral student at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg.

Source: University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Published in National Hypnotherapy Society August 2018 Newsletter.

By ianfielder, Jul 11 2018 02:30PM

Mindfulness training and hypnotic suggestion significantly reduced acute pain experienced by hospital patients, according to a new study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

After participating in a single, 15-minute session of one of these mind-body therapies, patients re

ported an immediate decrease in pain levels similar to what one might expect from an opioid painkiller. This study is the first to compare the effects of mindfulness and hypnosis on acute pain in the hospital setting.

The yearlong study's 244 participants were patients at the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City who reported experiencing unmanageable pain as the result of illness, disease or surgical procedures. Willing patients were randomly assigned to receive a brief, scripted session in one of three interventions: mindfulness, hypnotic suggestion or pain coping education. Hospital social workers who completed basic training in each scripted method provided the interventions to patients.

While all three types of intervention reduced patients' anxiety and increased their feelings of relaxation, patients who participated in the hypnotic suggestion intervention experienced a 29 percent reduction in pain, and patients who participated in the mindfulness intervention experienced a 23 percent reduction in pain. By comparison, those who participated in the pain coping intervention experienced a 9 percent reduction. Patients receiving the two mind-body therapies also reported a significant decrease in their perceived need for opioid medication. "About a third of the study participants receiving one of the two mind-body therapies achieved close to a 30 percent reduction in pain intensity," said Eric Garland, lead author of the study and director of the U's Centre on Mindfulness and Integrative Health Intervention Development. "This clinically significant level of pain relief is roughly equivalent to the pain relief produced by 5 milligrams of oxycodone."

Garland's previous research has indicated that multi-week mindfulness training programs can be an effective way to reduce chronic pain symptoms and decrease prescription opioid misuse. This new study added a novel dimension to Garland's work by revealing the promise of brief mind-body therapies for people suffering from acute pain. "It was really exciting and quite amazing to see such dramatic results from a single mind-body session," said Garland. "Given our nation's current opioid epidemic, the implications of this study are potentially huge. These brief mind-body therapies could be cost-effectively and feasibly integrated into standard medical care as useful adjuncts to pain management."

Garland and his interdisciplinary research team aim to continue studying mind-body therapies as non-opioid means of alleviating pain by conducting a national replication study in a sample of thousands of patients in multiple hospitals around the country.

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