House Whispering: The Inner and the Outer Space

Number 8 Pelham Place – Version 2

My latest news is that a few months ago I embarked on a year-long training course in “House Whispering” with Christian Kyriacou.  I have attended various workshops with Christian, a Greek architect, over quite a number of years and have found his work fascinating but this new training course is a chance to really delve deeply into what he has learned over several decades working as a “House Whisperer”.  The course includes a wide range of subjects such as space clearing, feng shui, dowsing, geomancy, sacred geometry and environmental science that all have bearing on the space that we occupy. 

In my work as a clinical hypnotherapist my main task is to help people access their inner space, their subconscious,  to bring about healing and transformation but as Christian so rightly points out there is also a correlation between our inner space or “inner home” with the external spaces that we occupy -  our homes and our work places. The hidden energies of buildings affect us whether we are aware of them or not. Christian’s work is really psychotherapy of buildings and for me this seems like a natural development in my therapy practice.

This correlation between inner and outer world is something that I have recognised many times working with clients.  I can very quickly get clients to “change state” through hypnosis in the therapy room but often they discover that as soon as they walk back through the door to either their home or their work place, or in some cases both environments they can be sabotaged by their old patterns. As an example of how space can affect a client: I recently gave a session to a young opera singer who came because he was unhappy with his voice and the way he was singing.  While I was taking the Case History it struck me that his problem was not the voice but his inability to find a “Sacred Space” to practice in the house where he was living. As soon as he set up his space and made it special and came to a mutual agreement with the other people in the house about practice he relaxed and of course the voice and his confidence improved. This seems common sense and of course it is but it is an example of how outer space affects inner space.

From “People Whisperer” to “House Whisperer”!

Where Art, Psychology and Therapy Meet (A Day out At The Hayward Gallery)

The Flying Machine

Today I paid a visit to the Carsten Holler Exhibition “Decisions” currently on at the Hayward Gallery and had a thoroughly good day out – hilarious, thought-provoking, inspiring, fun ……..My clients well know how keen I am on Art (as well as Music!) and its ability to transform us and Carsten Holler certainly does that.  For a therapist the exhibits/installations were wonderful visual metaphors for themes that constantly crop up with clients.  Take the title “Decisions” – I so often say to my clients that there is no such thing as a right or a wrong decision just a decision.  This puzzles many of them as they feel their problems have been the result of bad decisions.  But to quote Mark Twain “‘Good decisions come from experience. Experience comes from making bad decisions” or as we say in NLP there is no such thing as failure only feedback. There is always a different way of looking at things. Decisions that turned out badly can be the very catalysts for change that a client needs in their life – the wake-up call. 

So back to Carsten Holler – the entrance through his “Decision Corridors” takes you along a twisting, often dark passage-way where you have to rely on your hands touching the walls to progress – down the rabbit hole!  My thoughts as I groped my way along was that this is representative of the journey we all make when we decide to enter the dark recesses of the mind so that we can emerge into the light. 

I won’t go into details about all the exhibits but there were huge fly agaric mushrooms (hallucinogenic!), goggles that you wear and which make you see everything upside down (felt very dizzy when walking about!), a half mirror room with a huge dice for children to crawl about in – all very “Alice In Wonderland.”  The pill clock especially took my attention – a clock made of red and white capsules and you are invited to take a capsule and swallow it with water provided from a water fountain.  Even though logically I knew the pill must be harmless, as I swallowed it I did ask myself – what is in this capsule, what will be its effect?  As a person who is greatly interested in research into the placebo effect and concerned at the over-medicalisation of Western Society this was a thought-provoking moment.  I had a turn on the flying machine (see photo) and of course was unable to suppress a fit of the giggles and did lark about a bit.  Everyone that went on it seemed so serious and quiet and looked a bit embarrassed which is apparently the reaction Holler was after.  I was more interested in allowing my Inner Child out to play and I do think that many problems that adults have are because they take the whole business of life far too seriously.  It is so important to maintain that Inner Child as we progress through life.  

The exit from the exhibition was a quick whoosh down the Isomeric slides – a moment of madness, delight and letting go of control (another life lesson) and fortunately a soft landing!  Oh, yes and of course the inevitable visit to the shop where I could not resist buying some quirky items for my therapy room!

Introducing you to PSYCH-K

Psych-KFalconLogoblue

This summer I finally took the training to be a facilitator in an exciting, fast and effective way of changing those subconscious limiting beliefs that so often hold us back in life. I first came across PSYCH-K back in 2005 when I purchased and read Dr Bruce Lipton’s ground-breaking book “The Biology Of Belief.”  In his book Bruce wrote:

 ”I use PSYCH-K in my own life.  PSYCH-K has helped me undo my self-limiting beliefs, including one about not being able finish my book. The fact that you are holding this book is one indication of the power of PSYCH-K!”

The originator of PSYCH-K is Rob Williams MA and I am now wondering why on earth I waited so long to get around to learning and using this amazing process which sits so well within my hypnotherapy practice.  There is no hypnosis involved however like hypnosis it is like a key (the K in PSYCH-K) that opens up communication with the subconscious mind.  I have used it so far on a number of singers, actors and musicians and all have been very enthusiastic.  All of them have set up a goal that they wish to achieve and have a customised action plan using the “VAK to the Future” process (more details of this on the ABOUT section of this website). Needless to say I am also using it on myself as I believe in “walking my talk” and I shall be monitoring everyone’s progress and keeping them on track.  So this is a great coaching technique and although many chose performing goals the process can be applied equally effectively to other areas of your life:

Work, Career, Passion

Physical, Mental, Emotional (inc stress and trauma) 

Relationships

Financial Abundance

Spiritual Growth

Grief and Loss

Personal Power, Self Esteem, Self-Worth

Addictions

Weight Loss, Body Image, Eating Disorders 

If you are interested in a session which can be stand-alone or in conjunction with hypnosis go to ABOUT and the section on PSYCH-K and the PSYCH-K website for lots more information and of course I encourage all prospective clients to contact me for a free introductory chat to discuss their needs.  I predict that it will be one of the most useful therapy “tools” that I have in my toolbox. 

Creative Systemic Therapy In Budapest

Budapest on the Danube

I am not long back from beautiful Budapest where I was on a course with Bradford and Hillary Keeney on “Creative Systemic Therapy”.  Brad is viewed as the Marco Polo of psychology because as well as being a scholar, psychotherapist, cybernetician, and jazz musician he spent ten years as an anthropologist living with many groups of indigenous people such as the Kalahari tribe and has been accepted by them as an authentic healer and shaman. I read his book “Shaking Medicine” when it first came out and it had a huge impact on me and since then I always wanted to meet him and work with him and finally the chance came. He has now set up The Keeney Institute based mainly in Budapest with his wife Hillary.  She too is an extraordinary therapist and the yin to Brad’s yang.  They work jointly as therapists and teachers and the telepathy between the two is palpable.  

My interest in the course came from one of their latest books “Creative Therapeutic Technique”.  Coming from a Performing Arts background and having moved later in life into therapy this course really affirmed for me my instinct that therapy is much more effective in bringing about change when creative performance technique rather than theory is primary.  Resources are emphasised rather than dwelling on problems and solutions which so often keeps clients going round in a vicious circle.  The course was also a personal journey for all those taking part as there is an emphasis on the therapist also changing – that we need to be creative and dynamic ourselves to avoid becoming static therapists.  I felt as if I went through a thorough “decluttering” in the hands of Brad and Hillary.  There was a good measure of absurdity and humour along the way and lots of dancing and shaking to raise our energy levels.  There is a great deal of information about the Keeneys to be accessed on the internet – they have one of the most imaginative and inspiring websites you are likely to come across – http://www.keeneyinstitute.org/ – and of course some truly transformative books.  Brad and Hillary are most definitely taking therapy to an entirely new and exciting level.    

 

 

Effective Therapy Using The Hypnoke System

Brenda Hypnoke_edited-1 - Version 3

I am now regularly using a Hypnoke System in my practice to enhance sessions with my clients. It works like this – the therapist and the client both wear headphones and then speaking through a microphone I can combine my voice with specially chosen relaxation music or natural sounds such as waves or forest sounds.  The use of added reverb on my voice is another trance-inducing feature. My clients say it really helps to deepen their state of relaxation and makes imagery more vivid.  Studies have been done on the use of Hypnoke at Brunel University which backs this experience up.

 

Mindfulness At Davos

Great to see actress Goldie Hawn turning up at the 2014 World Economic Forum in Davos, where she led a session on the power of neuroscience and mindfulness to “change the world.” Hawn, star of films including “Private Benjamin,” “The First Wives Club” and “The Cactus Flower” – is also the founder of The Hawn Foundation. Hawn said when she started her foundation 12 years ago, mindfulness had been a “what is that” concept, but she was optimistic that was changing.”It’s extraordinary that this Davos this year seems to be centred a lot around the brain, a lot around stress reduction, mindfulness, all of these areas,” she said. ”They’re all coming out of the closet now, it’s like they’ve all been meditating – so many of them – for 20 years and so forth. So it’s beginning to happen – mindful leadership.” Hawn explained how she believed a healthy mind could lead to healthy decision making.

“When the brain is silent, the executive function, which is this part of the brain that makes decisions can work much better. So when you get quiet you make better decisions, you’re also more rested – you’re not as reactive,” she said.

To that I would add – if you find meditation/mindfulness difficult go to a good hypnotherapist who is expert in guiding you into that state so you know what it feels like and what you are aiming for.  I became a meditator after hypnotherapy and being taught the art of self-hypnosis.  And as Hawn said in her interview we know now that it is not a load of “woo-woo” – it is neuroscience.

Gateways Of The Mind

 Gateways

Last weekend I attended an amazing event at The Tabernacle in Notting Hill Gate called Gateways Of The Mind on the subjects of Lucid Dreaming, Shamanic Dreaming, Tibetan Dream Yoga and Out of Body Experiences (OBE’s).  All the speakers were top drawer and I could not begin to document it for you in detail but what I did realise, after experiencing all these techniques one after the other in a short space of time (and all of which I have dipped into at some level whether it was on courses or reading books on the subject) is this: 

They are all the same thing and as a hypnotherapist I would say that they are all about achieving a deep trance state.  

I had been thinking about bringing this point up when William Buhlman from the Monroe Institute in America strode onto the stage and confirmed this in his introduction by advising us not to put all these things in separate boxes.  The other important confirmation I had was again from William Bulhman and also the marvellous Michael Winn, a Qigong Master and that was: 

What we are dealing with is not in fact Out Of Body experiences but expanded consciousness. 

The ultimate and only out of body experience is of course death.  While you are still alive if you go into a deep state of trance or meditation it feels as if you have left the body but you have simply just expanded your consciousness so far that your awareness goes way beyond the body, so much so that you feel as if you have in fact left the body.  This is a much more grounded way of thinking about all this and it makes total sense to me.  In this state we can access healing, creativity and the collective consciousness that Jung talks about, so it is a very powerful practice.

Besides top speakers there were marvellous sound meditations, a visionary art exhibition and a Lucid Hypnogogic Light Machine. My session with the light machine was intriguing – similar in effect to the colour dome which I have tried accompanied by some suitably wafty music through headphones.  The flickering coloured light changed into all sort of mandalas and kaleidoscopic patterns.  All very trance inducing!

 

Mindfulness And Compassion Focused Therapy Talk

I enjoyed a very stimulating evening on 17th July at the AICH (Association Of The Institute Of Clinical Hypnosis) where we had a guest lecturer, Rosa Hernando, who is a psychologist specialising in CBT.  Her talk was on what is called the 3rd wave of CBT which has now incorporated the practice of Mindfulness and Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT).   Mindfulness is gaining great publicity at the moment through the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn in the States and it opens up the world of meditation practice to a wider audience as this particular style of meditation has no religious connotations.  Meditation practice can be a huge anchor in our lives and reduces stress which is at the very heart of every presenting problem we get as hypnotherapists whether it is depression, addiction, relationship problems or illness.  

Meditation and hypnosis have a great deal in common and teaching clients self-hypnosis (which we all do as part of the treatment) is not only a wonderful self-help technique but it  often opens up the door to meditation.  After having hypnotherapy in my twenties which helped to sort out problems in my own life I found the practice of self-hypnosis led very easily into meditation and it has become a daily practice with me.  BUT here’s the tricky bit – it really ought to be a life long practice like brushing your teeth every day. I find hypnosis shifts clients very quickly but then some are disappointed to find that the effects wear off. Those that practise the skills make much faster progress and can really transform their lives. 

All it requires is 15 to twenty minutes a day. You would be surprised at how many people are absolutely adamant that they cannot find those precious minutes and yet on investigation they seem quite prepared to flop in front of the TV for considerable lengths of time, or spend time on Facebook etc etc.  Keeping a journal for even a short time is a great way of revealing how we spend our time. I am forever grateful for my training as a musician – musicians know about practice! So yes, self-hypnosis, meditation, mindfulness are all hugely beneficial but the clients who make the most progress are just like any music student – they are the ones that practise, practise, practise! 

 

My New Gadget For Biofeedback

My clients and I are currently enjoying using my new emWave2 – a small and incredibly portable biofeedback device from the HeartMath Institute.  It could not be simpler to use – you attach the ear sensor to an ear-lobe and the pulse is then picked up.  Then as you focus on positive emotions and synchronise your breathing with the rise and fall of a row of illuminated LED lights and audible cues, you can observe as you relax that the top light changes from red (normal) to blue (improved) and then to green (optimal).  Your stress feelings decrease as your coherence increases.  

You can do more complicated things such as:

  • review sessions through the computer interface that shows heart rhythms and coherence ratios, 
  • store, review and print out results 
  • use what they call a Coherence Coach to learn and practice HeartMath techniques proven to transform stress

I recently hooked up a number of my students just before their singing exams which had a wonderful calming effect and they really enjoyed using my new gadget.  It proved to be a wonderful distraction technique too,  as it really took their minds off the impending exam and at least when they walked into the exam room they were in a fairly calm state.  One pupil who came to me a year ago to study singing after being with another teacher had a history of panic attacks and had run off before a singing exam on two occasions!  I am delighted to report that using the portable biofeedback along with some hypnotherapy and EFT she was able to achieve a well-deserved distinction in her Grade 8!