Hypnotherapy supports survivors of breast cancer.

Breast cancer is now the UK’s most common form of cancer, according to figures released by Cancer Research UK. The charity estimates that 1 in 7 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in her life. That’s around 55,000 women and 370 men diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the UK, or one woman every 10 minutes. Breast Cancer Awareness month is an international campaign that involves thousands of organisations all seeking to raise awareness, educate and fundraise to support research.

Many UK breast cancer charities now recognise hypnotherapy as a useful adjunct to traditional medical therapy.  Breast Cancer Care, the only national UK charity that supports people affected by breast cancer, recommends hypnotherapy to help support people dealing with a range of emotional and physical problems such as anxiety, hot flushes, nausea and pain.

In 2007 the NHS examined a study which found that women who had a session of hypnotherapy before breast cancer surgery spent less time in surgery and recovered faster than those who had not received hypnotherapy.  While they found some limitations for the study, they wrote the “…positive outcomes from this study are encouraging for patients and doctors who are keen to reduce the side effects of surgery. It is recommended that people interested in investigating this possibility follow the advice given…”

What are the signs of breast cancer?

The first symptom of breast cancer that most women notice is a lump or an area of thickened tissue in their breast. Other signs may be a change in the appearance of one or both breasts, discharge from the nipples or swelling in the armpit area. Most lumps (90%) are not cancerous, but it is always best to have them checked by your doctor.  The earlier you notice and act, the better your chances are of catching the cancer before it spreads into other parts of the body.

Hypnotherapy can be a supportive treatment

Hypnotherapy programmes have been recognised and promoted within over 100 NHS breast cancer clinics as a resource for their outpatients. Survivors of breast cancer not only go through physical changes related to both the cancer and the treatment but there are many post-traumatic emotional issues that can arise including anxiety, heightened feelings of vulnerability and isolation and fear of reoccurrence.

Working with a hypnotherapist can help you address the emotional issues, supporting you through the period of diagnosis, treatment and beyond.  The NHS recognises that it often helps to talk about your feelings and other difficulties with a trained counsellor or therapist.

The National Council for Hypnotherapy is the UK’s largest professional association for hypnotherapists with close to 2,000 fully trained and insured hypnotherapists registered as members. To find a therapist near you, use their therapist finder.


Adults struggle years later after bullying at school

In recent years, a steadily increasing volume of data has demonstrated that peer victimisation—the clinical term for bullying — impacts hundreds of millions of children, adolescents and adults throughout the world, with the effects sometimes lasting years and, possibly, decades. The World Health Organization and the United Nations even recognise the problem as a global health challenge.

When we think of bullying we usually think of the repeated and intentional verbal and physical behaviours that seek to intimidate, harm, or marginalise someone perceived as smaller, weaker, or less powerful. Among younger children, common forms of bullying include abusive language and physical harm. This behaviour may become more subtle with age. In adolescence bullying often looks like routinely excluding or insulting their victims.

A recent BBC article interviewed Ruby Sam Youngz about the long term impacts of being bullied.  She said that the relentless bullying which began at age 10 and continued through secondary school affected all areas of her life, and she took up smoking and drinking in an attempt to cope. Now aged 46, she feels like she is starting to come to terms with the impact the bullying had upon her. “I felt like ‘no one else likes me, so I don’t like me’,” she said.

The trauma stemming from bullying can affect the structure of the brain, according to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data collected by a research team based at King’s College London. These findings build upon previous research, which demonstrated similar changes in children and adults who experienced neglect or abuse by adult caregivers.

“Clinical hypnotherapy has a proven record in treating anxiety, stress, PTSD and other similar issues” says the National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH). The aim of hypnotherapy is to unlock stored emotion so that the trauma can be revisited and explored from a different perspective and there are various forms of hypnotherapy a practitioner may use and in order to determine which is the most suitable, says the NCH.

A fully qualified National Council for Hypnotherapy therapist – of which there are almost 2,000 across the UK – can help someone who has experienced bullying understand their current thought patterns so that they can identify those that are harmful and unhelpful.

After sessions with a hypnotherapist you may feel more confident; more relaxed in situations that have previously challenged you,” says the NCH, adding that after a few sessions of hypnotherapy, people tend to be more relaxed and more confident, even in environments which they previously found challenging.

During hypnotherapy sessions, you can learn to come to terms with your experiences and gain a sense of control over fears. By focusing on realistic thoughts, you can avoid falling back into negative thinking patterns whenever you encounter a trigger.

For help recovering from the impact of bullying, use the NCH directory, to find a qualified and insured therapist near you..


Lupus: a hidden killer of young women

Lupus is known as the 'great mimic'Lupus is an autoimmune disease wherein the immune system attacks healthy cells and tissues, causing inflammation. It can affect any organ of the body; in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), multiple parts of the body can be affected, including the skin, joints, kidneys, heart, and brain. Because Lupus can affect so many organs and the symptoms can be so diverse, including fatigue, rashes, allergies, depression and kidney failure it’s called the ‘great mimic’ and is often be misdiagnosed. Lupus can range from mild to life-threatening and should always be treated by a doctor, generally a rheumatologist who will regularly access and manage disease activity.

Studies have shown that lupus affects approximately 1 in 1,000 people in the UK, but the condition is underdiagnosed.  Lupus UK reported last year that there is a delay of over 6 years on average between a person developing symptoms and receiving a diagnosis.  In that time sufferers are routinely told that they have anxiety or other psychological health conditions which exacerbate their physical health conditions.

Hypnotherapy is seen by various UK lupus charities as a useful way of relieving stress, preventing flare ups and slowing down the disease progress, while allowing patients to deal better with pain, anxiety and reducing the amount of medication required on a daily basis.

Image Source: Lupus UK

All ages and sexes can be affected, but like all autoimmune disorders the majority of people affected are young females.  In the case of lupus it especially affects those of African and Asian ancestry.

While the exact cause of lupus is not known it shares a common development pathway with other autoimmune conditions.  Exposure to viruses, prolonged periods of stress, trauma and pregnancy are all known to be triggers for autoimmune conditions. Studies have found that traumatic life events can elevate the risk of developing lupus three-fold.

The National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH) states that hypnotherapy offers a variety of tools and techniques that change clients’ mind set and approach to events; giving them resilience to ride out challenging times while enabling them to keep stress hormones to a minimum.  These techniques result in greatly reduced levels of cortisol and adrenaline limiting the likelihood of lupus flare ups and potentially slowing the damaging course of this illness.

Hypnotherapy involves bringing a client into a state a state of focused and attentive concentration where they can make changes to their instinctive thought patterns and habitual behaviours. Hypnotherapy has been studied as a tool for managing a variety of problems including chronic pain syndromes, irritable bowel, fibromyalgia and arthritis.

The Hibbs Lupus Trust offers monthly group hypnosis sessions at the Cannock Hospital which range from deep relaxation to more focused and specific interventions for lupus to assist in managing both the physical and mental health impacts of the condition.  By assisting patients with lupus to better manage their mental health they can avoid adding antidepressants, anxiolytics and sedatives to their daily medication cocktail.

To find someone who can support you with your lupus diagnosis, use the NCH directory, which lists therapists near you.

Kim-Joy breaks free from social anxiety

Source: twitter.com (@kimjoyskitchen)

Last year social anxiety became a talking point thanks one of the fan favourites from last season’s Great British Bake Off. Kim-Joy was a constantly smiling, cutsey fashionista who was embraced by the British public thanks to her relentless positivity and genuineness. She was loved even more when she started to open up about how surprised she was by all the love and approval she was receiving.

“I always wanted to take part in Bake Off, but I was very nervous, not about the cooking, but how the other contestants would perceive me,” says the 28-year-old who lives near Leeds in an interview with a national paper.

Her contestant profile released to the media contains a quote reading “My friends have always wanted me to apply, but I didn’t feel confident enough to apply until this year”. When Kim-Joy was in school she struggled with selective mutism. She says she didn’t want people to know that she could talk.  This struggle with severe social anxiety lead her to study psychology at university and she ended up working in the NHS as a psychological wellbeing practitioner.

Kim-Joy is using her newly found fame to open up conversations about mental health and the NHS.  While she says that she loves the NHS she has come to realise that the clinical side of mental health isn’t for her.  Professionals need data so they can see who is recovering and she feels that a lot of people make up with answers because they want to sound like they’re feeling better.

Last year a study was released which showed that prescriptions for anti-depressants have almost tripled since 2000, with 64 million NHS prescriptions now doled out annually – compared with 22 million in 2000. UK levels of antidepressant use are now fourth highest among Western countries.

Talking therapies have been proven to help treat anxieties, stress and depression.  The National Council for Hypnotherapy(NCH) states that clinical hypnotherapy particularly can be of benefit when working with mental health conditions; helping to assess the issues and identifying their root – whether it is a situation, a physical issue, a past experience or a relationship.

Rather than using standardised forms and questionnaires, a clinical hypnotherapist can use a range of different interventions to help you resolve whatever the issue is that’s troubling you.

Working with a hypnotherapist may help you feel more confident and more at ease about things which have previously been challenging for you says the NCH.

“Hypnotherapy unlocks the potential you have to break free of negative thought patterns, and to react more positively and more confidently to situations in your life that may have previously made you anxious.”

To contact your nearest NCH-registered therapist and start the process of shedding your anxieties, simply click here.

Are you preparing for Sober October?

Are you confused about what is considered to be a ‘safe’ level of alcohol consumption? In the UK and other parts of Europe, no more than one glass of wine or a pint of beer a day is recommended. In the US it is double these levels, and in Mediterranean countries and Chile it’s even more relaxed when it comes to drinking wine. Studies published in the last year warn us that there is no safe level of consumption.

As some of us start preparing ourselves to ‘go sober for October’ it might be useful to pause and consider just how commonplace drinking is in the UK. Metro News regularly runs a column in which people ‘spill’ how much they actually drink in an average week; you may find the columns eye opening.


Preparing for Sober October

One of the most effective things you can do to make Sober October successful is to set yourself a concrete goal.  Spend some time thinking about why achieving this goal is important to you and what it will bring to your life.  Perhaps you’re giving up the pints to save money for travelling or you know that cutting down on wine in the evenings will help your weight.  Or maybe you’ve noticed that your alcohol consumption has crept up to the point where you’re drinking every day and you want a chance to build new and healthier habits.

Know that changing habits can take time and feel uncomfortable at first. You might find that you are struggling with cravings; it can be helpful to find someone to talk to. Hypnotherapy has had proven success in helping clients break unwanted habits or addictions like excessive drinking.

“The good news,” says the National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH), “is that you are in control, you can change how you react to certain situations, and you can protect yourself in ways that are healthy and which allow you succeed and grow stronger in body and mind. You just need to know how to change it, and to believe you can.”

Hypnotherapy works rapidly and successfully with bad habits and behaviours because it works directly with the subconscious, bypassing the critical mind and getting to the root of the issue so that changes can be made.

Perhaps if you’re taking part in Sober October you’re doing it as a fundraising effort.  This will give you some external accountability and motivation.  If you’re doing the challenge solo, tell your friends and family what your intention is and ask them for support. You’re more likely to achieve your goals when you have people cheering you on.

Plan your social calendar.  Instead of arranging to meet up with friends at the pub, suggest other activities.  Get active and go for a walk or indoor rock climbing or go to see a movie.  Not only will this help reduce the temptation to drink, you’ll bond with your friends in new ways.

Make your Sober October a success and visit the NCH’s hypnotherapy directory to find a qualified and insured hypnotherapist near you who can support you achieving your goals.

School Refusal: What to do when your child refuses to go to school

It’s not uncommon for a child to have a day when they simply don’t want to go to school.  They aren’t sick, aren’t being bullied or dislike school in any way, they just don’t want to go on that particular day.  Perhaps as preparations begin to go back to school in September there may be a bit of complaining that it’s not fair, that they don’t want to change their routine from the one they’ve adopted over the summer months. However, for some children the issue runs deeper than not wanting to give up their time playing in the park or watching videos and it can escalate into something the experts call ‘school refusal’.

School refusal was first recognised in the 1930s when psychologists noticed there were two distinct groups of children who were regularly absent from school.  There was a group who were rebellious, performed poorly academically and often were found to be engaged in anti-social behaviour, and there was a group who were quiet, obedient in class and performed well academically.

Children and teens who start to show habitual patterns of avoiding going to school may be dealing with suspected or diagnosed special educational needs, anxiety, depression, family crises or other traumatic life events such as bullying. School refusal often peaks at times of transitions such as moving to a new school or beginning high school as these are periods of higher stress and upheaval than normal.

While problems may be centred around school or home life, the end result is the same – children can’t cope and withdraw from school. They need the education system to recognise that anxiety that interferes with their day-to-day living is a debilitating mental health condition requiring support and reasonable adjustments” says Fran Morgan, an expert on school refusal and the founder of Square Peg.

So how do you support your child who is having difficulties attending school?  They are often highly anxious and need emotional support. It’s important to recognise that the child in question is not behaving wilfully, they are struggling with a set of circumstances that make their attendance more difficult than other children. One way of supporting your child who is experiencing significant anxiety about returning to school is to reach out to a professional therapist.  This can help them gain the support and skills that they need to successfully overcome their fears and learn coping skills.

Clinical hypnotherapy can be a successful way to deal with stress and anxiety, the National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH) says that Hypnotherapy can help a child deal with the issues that they are facing helping a child move on with their school career without the potential harmful side effects of medication.

During hypnotherapy sessions the therapist can help the student set goals for how they would like to feel, identify the root causes and work with the student to create strategies for getting them back to school feeling calm and confident.

Many of the nearly 2,000 trained, insured and registered hypnotherapists on the NCH therapist finder specialise in working with children and adolescents.  You’re sure to find help close by.

Use the NCH directory to find a therapist near you.


Reducing the headache for migraine sufferers

It is estimated that there are 190,000 migraine attacks experienced every day in England and between 6 – 8 million people suffer from regular migraines in the UK. Migraines are not just bad headaches; the World Health Organisation has rated it among the most disabling lifetime conditions. They involve intense symptoms such as visual changes, nausea, vomiting and dizziness.  For around 90% of sufferers the symptoms stop them from engaging fully in their work, personal and social lives on a regular basis.  At their worst a migraine can leave a person incapacitated for 24 hours. An estimated 86 million days are lost from work or school every year because of migraines. Sufferers often report they have to lie down in a darkened room for two or three hours. Unsurprisingly, many of them turn to medication to help them manage their condition.

Bringing awareness to a painful condition

September 1st is the start of Migraine Awareness Week; an annual campaign to raise awareness and reduce the stigma of the condition.  The National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH) writes that migraines are a condition that usually responds well to sessions of hypnotherapy.

Migraines affect three-times as many women as men, with this higher rate being most likely hormonally-driven. However, physical conditions such as migraines can be exacerbated by underlying stress or anxiety. People who suffer with migraines are substantially more likely to report struggling with anxiety and depression according to the Migraine Trust.

Working with a hypnotherapist could help you feel more confident and more at ease about the stress and worry of living with migraines.  A qualified clinical hypnotherapist can work with you to assist you in better understanding your migraine triggers. This can change your relationship to depressed or anxious thoughts and feelings. During hypnotherapy sessions you may be taught relaxation exercises or explore the mind-body connection. This can help you to recognise the triggers for your migraines and learn new ways of experiencing the sensations.

Of course, as this is a serious medical issue, it is vitally important that you are assessed by your GP before seeking treatment with a hypnotherapist.

To contact your nearest NCH-registered therapist and enjoy your life, headache free simply click here.

Diets don’t work – but hypnotherapy does!

Diets don't workAs the mercury climbed over the weekend many people looked into their cupboards and sighed, making a promise that they will cut back on the booze or snacks and fit into their light summer clothing.  Dieting is big business.  A quick Google search revealed that in the last 24 hours’ several pages of news articles have been published about the latest celebrity endorsed plan or diet ‘hack’.

However, the evidence is clear that diets don’t work long term. 95% of people who lose weight by dieting will regain it within 1-5 years. Moreover, the deprivation of restrictive diets may lead to a diet-overeat or diet-binge cycle. Fad diets can be harmful. They often lack essential nutrients and they teach you nothing about healthy eating. There’s a growing body of research that points to low fat and low calorie dieting leading to depression and other mental health problems as well, which should be even more incentive to ditch the diet mentality.

An a society we are weight obsessed to the point where roughly 10% of 13-year-old girls are ‘terrified’ about putting on weight, reports the BBC. So what can we do that’s actually effective and won’t damage our mental health?

Hypnotherapy can help those who want to manage their weight. The National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH) says this is one of the areas that hypnotherapy is most effective. Losing weight with hypnosis boosts self-esteem, enabling the client to feel good about themselves, whatever size they are. It focuses on making healthy changes to the diet and lifestyle that will remain for the rest of their life.

Rather than just reducing calories, hypnotherapy can help you learn about how your body works.  For example, when you’re stressed your body produces higher levels of cortisol and adrenaline, our stress hormones, and puts us into a fight or flight mode. This hike in cortisol and adrenaline means we often crave sugary foods, as the body needs a quick fix of glucose.

When this cycle is interrupted by stress management and lifestyle interventions you’re much less likely to reach for the cake or bag of sweets.  No willpower needed!

Hypnotherapy can also help you get in touch with the reasons why you unconsciously eat.  Perhaps you struggle to stop once you’ve unwrapped a bar of chocolate or eat pizza until you’re well past the point of fullness.  Working with a hypnotherapist can help you understand the why’s of these behaviours and you can learn new healthy self-management techniques.

Successful hypnotherapy for weight loss will help you change lifelong negative habits around food and body image; by committing to a course of sessions with a qualified practitioner you can have the body and the wardrobe that you desire.  If you know that diets don’t work why not find an insured and registered hypnotherapist using the NCH therapist finder.  With over 1,800 registered therapists throughout the UK there’s sure to be someone near you.



World well-being week – how are you feeling?

Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.  Worries about things like money, jobs and benefits can make it harder for people to cope. Well-being for many people is at it’s lowest in recorded history.

Mind, the UK mental health charity believes that how people cope with mental health problems is getting worse as the number of people who self-harm or have suicidal thoughts is increasing.

Taking steps to look after your well-being can help you deal with pressure, and reduce the impact that stress has on your life. Resilience keeps us mentally healthy and able to cope with the stresses of life. Because every-day stresses are ongoing, the way you deal with them is crucial for your long-term mental and physical health.

The NHS suggests that there are a few key areas that people can work on to improve their feeling of well-being.

Social support and relationships – the more connected we are to our community, the better our well-being.  Spend time with your friends, family, neighbours and colleagues and you’ll notice your mood improves.  Connecting with your local community through volunteering not only gives you a boost of feeling good about your actions, it’s a great way to meet people with similar interests and values to yourself and forge friendships.

Finding a sense of meaning – Connect to the ‘why’ of your life. Having a sense of purpose has been found to be surprisingly important for countering burnout. When people work on projects both inside and out of work that are meaningful to them their sense of well-being soars.

If you’re struggling to manage your stress levels, feeling isolated and disconnected a few sessions with a hypnotherapist may help you achieve a different perspective.   During sessions with a hypnotherapist you will learn skills that will enable you to problem solve more effectively and think about the events that occur in your life in more productive ways.  You may also learn techniques that help you examine your short and long term goals, cultivate your purpose in life, and understand feedback from key people in your life.

After sessions with a hypnotherapist you may feel more confident; more relaxed in situations that have previously challenged you,” says the NCH. “Hypnotherapy unlocks the potential you have to break free of negative thought patterns, and to react more positively and more confidently to situations in your life that may have previously made you anxious.”

You can find a fully-trained, accredited and insured hypnotherapist near you by using the NCH directory.


Exploring hypnotherapy for men’s issues

Exploring men's health

On the 10th-16th June the world celebrates Men’s Health Week. This is a time to bring awareness to health issues that affect men disproportionately and focuses on getting men to become aware of problems they may have or could develop, and gain the courage to do something about it. Currently in the UK, 1 man in 5 dies before the age of 65.

The focus for 2019 will be men’s health by numbers. The campaign looks at the key numbers that men need to know about their own health and at the statistics that policy-makers need to know including the impact of inequality and deprivation on men’s health.

For many men there is a resistance to seeking out medical attention for physical or mental health issues because there is a perception that they need to always be strong, that seeking help makes them ‘weak’.  Each year Men’s Health Week becomes bigger and more well-known, so if you’re a man who wants to do more, or a woman who wants to inform a man you love about it, then we urge you to spread the word! A society where more men will feel that it’s OK to talk about their health issues and not just push them to the side and ignore health problems is a society where fewer men die well before their time.

In recent years these stereotypes are being challenged. Tom Ward, a Men’s Health writer explored the world of hypnotherapy and found that Kobe Bryant was routinely hypnotised before every match until his retirement, while Tiger Woods credited it with rediscovering his powers of concentration. Matt Damon recently admitted turning to hypnosis in order to kick a two-pack-a-day smoking habit. In fact, it has been hypothesised that men might prefer hypnotherapy to other therapeutic methods because it helps them to easily move themselves towards a solution instead of spending time examining the problem.

Hypnosis can be used to help treat a wide range of issues including, but not limited to, fears and phobias, anxiety and stress, tinnitus and to improve performance at work or in sport.  The National Council for Hypnotherapy has close to 2000 fully trained and insured therapists on their register, many of whom specialise in working with men and men’s issues.

To find out more, or to find a therapist who is a good fit for you, visit the NCH therapist finder.