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All posts by Barbara Burgess

Diets Dont Work

Why Diets Don’t Work

By | health, Hypnosis, Uncategorized, Weight Loss | No Comments

They reckon that by the age of 45 the average woman has been on 61 diets and will spend 31years of her life on a diet of some kind. Men are not far off with an average of 28years dieting. So we’re all getting thinner, right?
Clearly not, as statistics show that 30% of the world’s population is overweight or obese and at current rates it will be 50% by 2030. So what does this tell us?
First and foremost it must tell us that, in the long term, diets don’t work!
When you diet, especially those ‘Lose 6lbs in a Week’ kind of diets, your body recognises that less food is being consumed and goes into ‘famine’ mode. It produces an enzyme called Lipoprotein Lipase which helps to store extra fat, to be used in emergency (imminent death). You are now a super-efficient fat-storage machine. Lipoprotein remains in the body for up to 3 months, even after the perceived famine (diet) is over. As soon as you start eating normally again, the body sends it all straight to storage, making you fatter than before! And then to top it all, the body, to preserve that store of fat, will start to use the lean mass (muscles & bone) as its fuel – so the diet seems to have worked because you lose weight.
Less muscle & bone means the body needs less calories to keep it going which means, as soon as you stop your diet, weight goes on quicker than before. This is why so many people who have dieted repeatedly find they are eating less and less but still putting on weight.
Added to this, the body has a natural balance that, over time, becomes a default position. In other words, if someone has been overweight for some years, the body then accepts this state as ‘normal’ and will do anything it can to hold this status quo. So that, when they diet, they lose weight to begin with, but then the body will start to regain its status quo by slowing the metabolism and holding on to every calorie it can.
It works like the central heating system in your home; you set the heating to 20°C and the house warms up to that temperature. If you then open all the windows, the temperature will drop initially, but then the boiler comes on and works hard to push the temperature back up to 20°C. If you then close all the windows and put a fire on, the boiler turns itself off, continuing to keep the house at that 20°C. The only way to reduce the temperature of the house is to actually turn the thermostat down.
Hypnosis and NLP can help you to switch the ‘thermostat’ down by allowing your mind to begin to see the ‘thinner you’ as the ‘default’. It also helps to speed up the metabolism, encourage that ‘full’ feeling sooner, motivate you to enjoy movement, remove emotional eating from your life, encourage healthier eating and reduce cravings for sugary foods. Adding hypnosis to your weight loss regime has been shown, in research, to increase weight loss by an average of 97% and even more importantly increased the effectiveness long term by over 146%!


Have You Been Here Before?

By | hypnotherapy, past life regression, regression therapy, Uncategorized | No Comments

Have you ever experienced the feeling of knowing someone you’ve just met or recognising a place you’ve never been to before? Perhaps you have a connection with them in a previous life. Even people who have no belief in past lives are heard to say ‘I must have done something really bad in a previous life to keep suffering like this’. Albeit that it is not as simple as this there may be some truth in the statement – karma is not about judgement and often those who suffer the greatest are learning at ‘postgrad’ level!

Past Life Regression was probably discovered accidentally by hypnotherapists directing the client back to the first time they experienced something. We now take this step intentionally to reveal deeper seated problems, repetitive behaviours or unexplained phobias and illnesses.

Past Life Regression can be an extension of Regression Therapy or a ‘tourist trip’ to a past life. Where it used as a therapy it can alleviate problems that have been affecting your life for which there seems to be no cause or for understanding experiences that have seemed to blight your life.

It is common for people to describe pain in ways that reveal their understanding of its origin – a pain in the shoulder ‘like a knife in my back’; headaches like ‘a band being tightened around my head’. Most of us have no experience of these in this life, however, under hypnosis, if we are taken back to the origins of these experiences, our subconscious can take us to a life where these things actually happened to us. By understanding the true origins of these pains and understanding the connection with this life these pains can completely disappear.

 Reincarnation is the basis of many of the worlds spiritual beliefs including  Buddhism; Hinduism; Sikhism; Gnostic and Esoteric Christianity, to name but a few. I have found that more and more people, especially children, have some memory of a past life, although they are not always encouraged to trust that memory because of the wider spiritual connotations and so begin to forget the memories.

 It has a beautiful logic to me and answers all the questions that I could find no other sensible solution to, including déjà-vu; karma (probably the most misunderstood); intuition; energy or spiritual healing; not forgetting ‘why are we here?’; ‘why is life unfair?’

 It is not necessary for you to believe in reincarnation for Past Life Regression to work for you. Modern psychology doesn’t seem to have a lot to say about this – some say that it is a metaphor that your subconscious has constructed for you to understand your problem – whatever you believe, it can have remarkable results with a wide range of physical and emotional problems that have no clear source. Often it can be a deeply profound and life changing experience.

Deep in thought

Can Hypnotherapy help me with Cancer?

By | anxiety, cancer, chemotherapy, health, Hypnosis, hypnotherapy, illness, past life regression, regression therapy, stress | No Comments

How can hypnotherapy help with Cancer? For a start we are not suggesting that hypnosis will cure cancer and yet we can do much to help towards that end and much recent research suggests that your thinking can affect your health on a cellular and even genetic level.

If you consider some of the problems that hypnotherapy is known to help with you will start to see how we can help with Cancer: Anxiety, Depression, Fear, Insomnia, Pain, Self Confidence, Stress, even stopping Smoking…

Cancer is one of those illnesses that need to be treated holistically because it involves the mind, body and spirit of the patient. The doctors will focus on the body but a greater part of any possible cure is with the patient’s mind and spirit. Neither the doctors nor the treatments cure anything – the body itself does that. Take a moment to think about that. The body has produced this illness itself. No one ‘catches’ Cancer and, although there are things that will make it more likely that you get Cancer, none of them ‘give’ you Cancer. There are people who have  smoked all their lives who don’t get lung cancer, people who spend every day out in the sun, with little protection, who don’t get skin cancer and women who are genetically highly likely to get breast cancer who never do. It is something within the body which seems to flick that switch to produce cancerous cells. Conventional treatment is aimed at killing the cancerous cells. Is anyone working on flicking the switch back off?Otto Warburg quotes

There is now sufficient data to show that there is a connection between psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems of the human body. Simply put this means that stress and anxiety can lead to actual health changes, and vice versa. Hypnotherapy can work to reduce stress and anxiety, help speed recovery after chemotherapy, surgery etc. and provide guided visualisation of the immune system to help boost its effects.

Cancer and Regression Therapy

Some of the first thoughts and feelings people have when they are faced with a diagnosis of Cancer are “Why me?” “What did I do to deserve this” “Am I going to die?” Anger and worry and sadness are natural reactions but they can hinder the healing process. I have found that Past Life Regression can be extremely helpful in coping with these worries and emotions.

This is part of the spiritual healing that can give patients a different perspective of their illness. Whether it is the understanding that Cancer is not a punishment for any wrongdoing, or the realisation that there is a purpose – and it is your purpose, your plan and your learning. As a part of palliative care it can help towards an acceptance of the cycle of life and death and, as part of the healing process, it can be enlightening to experience the realisation that you have lived befoGilda Radner Quotere, and may have connections with people you know in this life over one or many lifetimes.

Cancer touches nearly everyone’s life these days and I am no exception having lost both my parents and other beloved members of my family. For this reason I give concessionary rates to sufferers and will arrange to visit them where necessary.

Please Contact me if you or a loved one are suffering.

Thinking Slim

Think Slim

By | Weight Loss | No Comments

When you think about losing excess weight your mind can work against you. Whether it’s thoughts of all the times you’ve tried and failed, or perhaps you’ve succeeded and then put it all back on. You may think off all those delicious treats you’ll be missing – cakes, chocolate or pastries. Or you could imagine all the hard work it’s going to be to fit exercising into your busy life.

These thoughts, and many more, are obscuring the real challenge, your identity. Weight problems are compartmentalised so that you see the little details and hope to change those without changing how you think about yourself and the first step to doing this is to listen to the beliefs you have.

‘It runs in the family’

‘I just can’t resist chocolate’

‘It’s my age’

‘I have a slow metabolism’

‘I’m too busy to exercise’

These are just some of the reasons you may give for being overweight. If you stop to analyse them they are really only excuses you are using to allow you to continue to hold on to a particular identity you feel comfortable with. Change is seen as a stressful process. So how do we make change easier?

Instead of focusing on the result you want – that you look slimmer, or the actions you take – to eat less and exercise more, you must focus on becoming the sort of person who is slim.

Your identity is tied to the beliefs you have about yourself and those beliefs are built by experiences that confirm them. For instance, if you see yourself as intelligent it may be because you did well in school, found it easy to pass exams and were told by others that you were clever. So to see yourself as the sort of person who is slim you start by modelling a slim person and every small win begins to confirm that new identity.

Modelling entails taking on the beliefs, values, attitudes and behaviours of the type of person you want to identify with. So if you want to become a slim person you need to model a slim person, rather than an overweight person who has lost weight – a subtle but important difference. The trick is not to spend the rest of your life trying to be an overweight person who has lost weight, and so continually struggling to fight cravings or overeating, worrying about calories or fat content. Some people who have lost weight do become ‘slim people’ but many will always have a mindset which will keep them in that struggle.

How do you choose a Hypnotherapist?

How do you choose a Hypnotherapist?

By | Hypnosis, hypnotherapy | No Comments

As a Hypnotherapist in private practice, as you can imagine, I tend to keep an eye on what is happening in my own area; whether there are any new Hypnotherapists, their methods and what they are saying on their websites. In business terms, these are my competition, although I personally feel that, as more people begin to realise the power of hypnotherapy to produce results, and fast, there are plenty enough clients to go round. Recently though, I’ve begun to notice some fairly aggressive marketing online, undercurrents of putting down the ‘competition’, and this led me to wonder, if I was looking for a Hypnotherapist, how would I know how to choose one?

Obviously, the first question is, are they qualified?

Once you start looking you will find a range of qualifications such as Dip.Hyp.(Diploma in Hypnotherapy), DCH (Diploma in Clinical Hypnotherapy)or HPD (Hypnotherapy Practitioner Diploma), one is not ‘higher’ than the other and they generally just tell you which school or methodology they have been trained in. In the UK there are, by law, no minimum standards required to qualify as a Hypnotherapist, so a qualification may mean, on its own, very little. There are also those that use qualifications that are somewhat misleading. If they are showing a BSc or MSc it is unlikely to be in Hypnotherapy, and may be totally unrelated. There are only a handful of Hypnotherapists qualified to that level in hypnosis as they are fairly new qualifications. The first person in the world to gain an MSc in Hypnosis was Matt Jacobs, only a couple of years ago (and one of the visiting lecturers on the MSc in Clinical Hypnotherapy that I am studying). If these qualifications are related they will be making a point of telling you.

There are a variety of professional bodies to which properly qualified Hypnotherapists can join. These various bodies have their own criteria for acceptance; those that only admit ‘healthcare professionals’ (doctors, dentists etc.) such as British Society of Clinical and Academic Hypnosis (BSCAH), those that demand a specific level of training, such as the General Hypnotherapy Standards Council (GHSC) and a few which are little more than umbrella organisations for affiliated schools. The GHSC is currently the largest professional body in the UK and its training level is quite stringent, it also demands that all its members continue their professional development.

There is also a government body, the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council which suitably qualified Hypnotherapists can belong to, although many (myself included) do not wish to join as we consider that hypnotherapy is not a ‘complementary’ therapy (a word often used interchangeably with ‘alternative’) and that other therapies registered by them have little or no evidence base for their practice.

So, yes, check their qualification and if they belong to one of the professional bodies, check the criteria for training and membership. Almost all demand Continual Professional Development so they should be showing some updating of their skills, especially if they’ve been practising for many years.

Often you will see Hypnotherapists claiming that you can feel assured that they are ‘fully insured’. Yes, absolutely they should be, but I would think it is highly unlikely that anyone would set up in any business these days without being fully insured!

Longevity…does being in the business for 15 or 20 years actually mean anything? It may. When I had been working as a Hypnotherapist for about 5yrs I met someone who, rather snootily, said that they had been doing it for 20yrs. I later discovered that this person only worked (very) part time as a Hypnotherapist and had possibly seen less clients in that 20yrs than I had already seen in my 5yrs. Beware those that can only see you in the evenings or at weekends (that doesn’t mean dismiss them out of hand, they may just be winding down after a long career!). Also, don’t assume, because they have their practice in healthcare establishments that they are better qualified, some of these places hire out consulting rooms just as they’ll charge you for parking.

Finally, there are different methodologies in Hypnotherapy: Traditional (or Suggestion) Hypnotherapists, Regression Therapists, Solution Focused, Ericksonian, Cognitive Hypnotherapists, Hypnoanalysis etc. Many Hypnotherapists can be protective about their own ethos, and even sometimes imply that there is something wrong with that of others; however it is really about your preference. My own view is that they all have something slightly different to offer, which is why I have chosen to become qualified in various modalities; Traditional, Regression and Ericksonian and work with other methods, depending on the requirements of the client. To that end I use the description ‘Client Centred’.

Perhaps I’ve made it sound like a bit of a minefield finding the right Hypnotherapist for you but, in the final analysis, almost all will give you a free first consultation so that you can meet them face to face and gain an understanding of how they work and whether they feel right for you. These free consultations can give you the chance to ask them about their qualifications and experience. Don’t feel embarrassed or guilty asking – it’s your money and your health.


How to be Happier

By | happiness, neuroplasticity | 2 Comments

Whatever we may believe we want; a new car, a beautiful home, a luxury holiday or a loving partner, what we really want and what we believe these things will give us is…Happiness. But what if Happiness was already your way of being in the world? What if you were just happy, without a reason?

Studies have shown that we all have a set level of happiness and acquiring the things we think will make us happy, will actually only raise our level of happiness temporarily. We soon adapt to these new good things and our happiness level reverts to the previous level. In fact, once the basic needs are met, it doesn’t seem to make much difference to your overall happiness whether you are poorer or wealthier.

You might now be thinking that there is no hope of becoming happier, but recent brain research has provided a key that can help unlock your potential for greater happiness – neuroplasticity. The previously long held ‘truth’ that your mind is a construct of your brain and past experiences has been turned upside-down because they have discovered that your mind creates your brain structure and by thinking differently, you can actually change your brain.

The process of increasing your happiness is actually quite simple, even though the practice is not so easy. First you need to look at your past and future; if you hold on to negative emotions about the past such as anger or sorrow, that part of your life will continue to affect you into the future. If you feel emotions like fear or worry about the future those feeling will colour everything you do in the present.

The first step then is to let go of the past (easier said than done?) which requires looking at it from a different point of view; in NLP we call this ‘reframing’. Consider, for instance; ‘Because this happened in my past I am now a more ………… person’ or ‘… I learnt to do/be………….’ The more positives you are able to find in a situation the more you can feel gratitude for even the worst experiences.

Negative feelings about the future exist completely in your imagination. The only foundation you can have for those ideas come from past experiences. Clearly there are certain things that are highly likely to happen – if you get to work late for the tenth time you are reasonably likely to lose your job but perhaps you would be better finding a job that you like enough to get there on time!

And the Present? The first secret here is to actually be present. When we are happiest we are not thinking about what we look like, what others think of us or what we are going to do later; we are engrossed in the activity of now, whether that is work or play.

Another secret to happiness is Contribution. Helping other people makes us feel good about ourselves, more empathic and more useful and less self-absorbed. Studies with sufferers of Depression found that when they got them helping other people their depression lifted quicker.

Being happy makes you more creative, more productive and more successful with relationships so bring the Joy into your life.

How Does Hypnosis Work?

By | Hypnosis | No Comments

One of the first things you learn as a Hypnotherapist is to recognise the physical state effects of trance such as the reduced heart rate, slower breathing and the change in pallor of the client. We are taught that hypnosis is a natural state of ‘internal reflection’, where the conscious mind is put to one side so that we can talk directly to the subconscious and that we can have incredible access to memories; recalling them vividly and applying a new understanding to them.

What they could never really tell us was how it works; but now, with the latest medical neuro-imaging tools, scientists are exploring what is actually happening in the brain during hypnosis.

Using MRI, PET, EEG & CT scans researchers are beginning to show, not only that hypnosis is a particular state, different to sleep, relaxation and even meditation, but also how it might be working.

The first thing to understand is that that the brain uses electricity to communicate between different parts. This activity, when measured, shows a pattern described as ‘brainwaves’. During normal ‘awake’ states the wave pattern, called Beta, is above 14Hz (cycles per second). When relaxed, or in meditation, this reduces to Alpha (7-13Hz), Theta (4-7Hz) and then Delta (below 4Hz) which is sleep and then unconsciousness. During hypnosis changes in blood flow to different regions of the brain produces a huge increase in Theta brainwaves, which is the characteristic state of drowsiness and reduced consciousness and loss of inhibition.

Using MRI scans researchers at Cornell University, New York, found that hypnosis decreases activity in certain areas of the brain. One of those areas is involved in the mental processes of perception, memory, judgment, and reasoning and also seems to be normally active in handling conflicting ideas. Reducing the activity of this area of the brain would reduce the logical, conscious, decision making processes and explain the high suggestibility of hypnotised subjects.

Another study, by Penn State Psychology Professor, William Ray, using EEG, suggests that hypnosis can remove the emotional connection to pain whilst allowing for the sensory experience – you can feel the touch but there is no pain associated with it. He also says that those areas of the brain involved in making decisions and monitoring the environment show strong connections suggesting that, under hypnosis, the person is able to focus on what they are doing without asking why they are doing it or checking the environment for changes.

PET scans confirm the involvement of the brains visual processing area (ACC), the thalamus (involved in sensation and movement), and part of the brainstem that regulates sensory information (autonomic systems, reflex movement, sleep & arousal) in the production of hypnotic states.

Increases in mental absorption during hypnosis were associated with increases in blood flow in a distributed network of cortical and subcortical structures often described as the brain’s ‘attentional system’.

Another area is the part used for processing visual information – now, bearing in mind that in most cases the hypnotised subject has their eyes closed, (it is not necessary to close your eyes to go into hypnotic trance but it is generally preferred by therapists and clients) the usefulness of this isn’t immediately apparent but for post-hypnotic suggestion (where a suggestion is given that will affect the client when they are back in the conscious state) it explains why we can make things ‘invisible’ – I have used this in the past to stop binge eaters from seeing the buns and cakes in the supermarket and alcoholics from noticing the wines and spirits.

I could go on…

Even if you don’t understand the science, the point I’m making here is HYPNOSIS IS REAL AND IT WORKS. It is a different state that has interesting effects on the activity of the brain, altering the way it processes information thereby altering the way you think.