WHEN IS AN ADDICTION AN ADDICTION?
I had the pleasure of working with James, a 30-year-old junior marketing executive who seemed to have everything going for him - a good job, supportive family, and an active social life. However, he was in denial about his drinking problem. As a therapist, I used various techniques including neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) and hypnosis to help him understand the root of his addiction and how to overcome it.
Despite James's active social life, alcohol was always present. He joked about looking like an alcoholic in every photo of himself holding a drink, but in reality, his drinking problem was no laughing matter.
When James met a woman, they had been seeing each other for a couple of months, and she noticed that every time she called him, he was drinking. She didn't think much of it and assumed he enjoyed a couple of drinks when he was out with friends or colleagues. However, as time went on, James's behaviour became increasingly concerning.
One morning, he woke up with his shirt covered in blood, unsure of what happened. On another occasion, he pushed a young woman in a nightclub after she spilled his drink. James was in denial about his drinking problem and couldn't understand why his new love interest didn't want to see him again.
Through our therapy sessions, I helped James understand the root of his addiction and how to overcome it. He underwent an alcohol detox and began attending support groups. I utilised various therapeutic approaches such as psychotherapy, cognitive therapy, hypnosis, NLP, and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) to help him overcome his addiction and regain control of his life.
Today, James is a different person. He is sober and has a better understanding of how his drinking problem impacted his life. Through our work together, he has become more in tune with his emotions and how to manage them. As his therapist, I am proud of the progress he has made and will continue to support him on his journey to recovery.
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GENERALISED ANXIETY DISORDER
Jasmine, a 29-year-old woman, came to see me due to feeling stressed, exhausted, having frequent headaches, and worrying persistently about her work situation. She had experienced anxiety in the past and had received counseling during college, which she found helpful. However, she had not received any further treatment for mental health difficulties until seeing me.
After an assessment with her G.P, it was determined that Jasmine had generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), likely brought on by recent threats of redundancies in her workplace. Through our sessions, we explored different treatment options and decided to incorporate hypnosis and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) to help her manage her anxiety and reduce her symptoms.
Over 4 weekly sessions, Jasmine responded positively to the therapy and reported feeling more relaxed, sleeping better, and experiencing fewer headaches. She also reported a decrease in her worrying and an improved ability to cope with everyday stressors.
It was rewarding to see Jasmine's progress and the positive impact that hypnosis and EFT had on her mental health. By working collaboratively and tailoring the treatment to her needs, we were able to achieve successful outcomes and improve her quality of life.
STRESS AND ANGER MANAGEMENT
SOPHIE'S CASE STUDY
Sophie is 8 years old, and she's been working with me on a plan to help her manage her anger and temper. She's been having a tough time lately because her family is going through a big change, and that's been making her feel really upset and angry. Sometimes, when she feels that way, she ignores her teacher, kicks at furniture, and even walks or runs away!
To help Sophie overcome her anger and temper issues, we decided to use a combination of hypnotherapy and emotional freedom technique (EFT). First, we worked on getting Sophie into a relaxed state through hypnosis, where we talked to her subconscious mind to find out the root cause of her anger. We discovered that Sophie was feeling neglected due to her family's busy schedule and that this was causing her to act out.
Next, we used EFT to release the emotional blockages and negative feelings that were causing Sophie to feel angry. This technique involved tapping on specific energy meridians while focusing on the negative emotions and sensations associated with her anger.
Then, we used subconscious negotiation to come up with a plan to manage Sophie's anger in the future. We talked to Sophie's subconscious mind and asked it to come up with a solution that would work for everyone involved. Sophie's subconscious mind suggested that she could ask for more attention from her parents and also find ways to express her feelings in a more positive way.
Together, we drew a picture of a volcano because Sophie said her anger feels like a volcano about to blow! But we also talked about how we don't have to 'burst up and out' like a volcano. We can slow down and calm down instead.
So, we came up with a plan for Sophie to use when she feels angry. She can try closing her eyes and counting backwards from 10, or doing calm breathing by counting slowly to 2 as she breathes in and out. We also talked about how it's okay to ask for help from her teacher or a grown-up when she needs it.
With this approach, Sophie was able to overcome her anger issues and find a positive way to express her feelings. By tapping into her subconscious mind and negotiating with it, we were able to find a solution that worked for Sophie and her family.
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TREATING COMPLEX TRAUMA IN ANGIE.
Angie is a 50-year-old woman who has been struggling with symptoms of complex trauma for several years. She grew up in a home with a verbally and emotionally abusive father and a passive mother who did not intervene. Angie also witnessed her father's physical abuse towards her siblings, but she herself was not physically abused. Despite this, Angie has experienced ongoing anxiety, depression, and difficulty forming relationships.
Angie was referred to therapy by her G.P. for ongoing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and difficulty with relationships. She reports feeling constantly on edge, having nightmares and flashbacks of past traumas, and difficulty trusting others. She also struggles with chronic pain, which she has been told is related to stress.
Angie was diagnosed with complex trauma related to her experiences growing up in an abusive and neglectful family environment. She also reports a history of sexual assault in college, which has added to her trauma symptoms. Angie's assessment revealed a high level of dissociation, avoidance, and hyperarousal symptoms, as well as difficulties with emotion regulation and attachment.
Together we developed a treatment plan that included a combination of cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR), and attachment-based interventions. The goals of therapy were to reduce her trauma symptoms, improve her emotion regulation and interpersonal skills, and increase her sense of safety and trust in relationships.
In the initial phase of treatment, we focused on building a therapeutic alliance and establishing a sense of safety and trust in the therapy relationship. We also worked on grounding and mindfulness skills to help Angie manage her dissociation and anxiety symptoms. As treatment progressed, we incorporated CBT techniques to address her negative beliefs about herself and her relationships, and EMDR to process her traumatic memories. Attachment-based interventions were also used to address her difficulties with forming and maintaining healthy relationships.
Angie responded well to therapy and was able to reduce her symptoms of depression, anxiety, and chronic pain. Her dissociation and hyperarousal symptoms also improved, and she reported fewer nightmares and flashbacks. She developed better emotion regulation and interpersonal skills, and was able to establish more satisfying and meaningful relationships with others. Angie reported feeling more in control of her life and more hopeful about her future. She completed therapy feeling empowered and equipped with the skills needed to continue her healing journey.
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COMPLEX TRAUMA IN CHILDREN
JOSH - A CHILD IN NEED OF ATTACHMENT AND STRESS REDUCTION INTERVENTION
Josh is a 7-year-old boy who has been living with his aunt, Helen, for the past five months. Helen is seeking custody of Josh as she is committed to providing him with a stable and supportive home. However, Josh's behaviours are escalating, and Helen is finding it increasingly difficult to care for him on her own. Josh has been asking Helen if he will be able to stay with her forever, which indicates his need for a secure attachment.
Josh has experienced multiple changes in living arrangements and has been moved between various relatives and family friends since he was 2 years old. He was removed from his parents' care at age 2 and returned to them when he was 3, but he was removed again one year ago. During his early years, Josh was exposed to chaotic and violent environments. He was born while his mother was in a transition home, and shortly after, his parents reunited for a period of time. However, his father disappeared, so contact has been lost. Josh has not seen his mother for the past year, and while in her care, she frequently moved around and had many different men in the homes.
There is a query of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and many symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), but no formal diagnosis has been made.
Josh can be engaging and friendly when he feels comfortable with someone. He enjoys talking and has a good sense of humour. He does well with art activities like colouring and painting and has a lot of energy. Josh loves climbing on playground equipment and enjoys helping younger children. He gets along well with his younger cousins.
Josh tends to be clingy with Helen and does not want to leave her side. He asks repeatedly about how long he will be allowed to live with her, which indicates his need for stability and reassurance. When his needs are not met, or things do not go according to plan, Josh can become explosive, which can last for hours. During these meltdowns, he yells, swears, throws things, and can destroy things around him. He has locked himself in the bathroom when he was triggered by something, and it was difficult to get him to come out. Josh gets extremely angry and can be aggressive when he is upset.
Josh becomes overwhelmed by noise and busyness, such as the school bell. He appears tired and on high alert when he comes to school. He has difficulty sleeping and experiences night terrors. He can often be found twisting his hair and rocking back and forth. When he is stressed, he sucks his thumb. Josh is hungry all the time and takes food from others at school.
Josh has difficulty making friends with his peers as he can be bossy and intimidating. He tends to push others around physically and emotionally and makes sure he is first in line. Students in his class do not seem to like him.
At school, Josh is often disruptive and easily frustrated. He is defiant and refuses to complete tasks, especially with substitute teachers. He loses his school books and has difficulty organising his desk. Although he appears to have good expressive language, he does not seem to fully understand what is being asked of him and is often a few steps behind the class in completing tasks. Josh is self-critical and calls himself dumb and compares himself to others.
Josh has been diagnosed with ADHD and Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). The social worker has expressed concern that Josh may also have FASD. He has recently been prescribed Ritalin, but this has not had a significant impact on his behaviour. Helen tried using a consequence-based behavioural.
Given Josh's history of complex trauma, we tried several different therapeutic approaches, including:
Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (TF-CBT): This evidence-based therapy is specifically designed to help individuals who have experienced trauma. TF-CBT typically includes a combination of techniques, such as cognitive restructuring, exposure therapy, and relaxation training. The therapy can help Josh to develop coping strategies, improve his self-esteem, and address negative beliefs and thoughts that stem from his trauma. Additionally, it can help Josh manage his behaviour and emotions.
Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR): EMDR is a trauma therapy that involves being guided to recall traumatic events while performing eye movements, auditory or tactile stimulation. This therapy helps to process traumatic memories and associated emotions, and to develop a more adaptive understanding of experiences. EMDR may be particularly helpful in addressing nightmares and other symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Attachment-based therapies: Given Josh's history of disrupted attachments, attachment-based therapies such as Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) and Theraplay may be helpful. These approaches focus on building secure attachments and developing trust with caregivers, which can help to feel more safe and secure. Additionally, these therapies can help develop emotional regulation skills and improve his capacity for self-reflection.
Sensorimotor psychotherapy: This approach emphasises the connection between the body and mind and aims to help individuals heal from trauma by addressing the physical sensations associated with traumatic memories. Sensorimotor psychotherapy may be particularly helpful for experience of overwhelming emotions and physical symptoms like stomach aches and headaches.
After several months of trauma-focused therapy, Josh made significant progress in managing his emotions and behaviour. He was able to develop a stronger sense of trust in his aunt and their relationship, and he no longer had the same level of clinginess or fear of abandonment.
Josh's attachment experiences with his aunt became more secure, and he was able to regulate his emotions more effectively. His meltdowns became less frequent and less intense, and he learned new coping skills to manage his feelings of overwhelm and anxiety.
At school, Josh became less disruptive and more engaged in his learning. His teachers reported that he was able to follow instructions better and complete tasks more independently. He also began to make friends and form positive relationships with his peers.
Overall, Josh's progress in therapy has been significant and promising. He still faces challenges, but he now has a greater sense of resilience and self-awareness to help him navigate his ongoing journey of healing from complex trauma.
Contact me today to schedule a personal consultation.
OCD CASE STUDY AND INTERVENTION TREATMENT PLAN
Sarah is a 32-year-old woman who has been struggling with OCD for several years. She reports experiencing obsessive thoughts related to contamination and cleanliness, as well as compulsive behaviors such as excessive hand-washing and cleaning.
Sarah's symptoms have identified a diagnosis of OCD. She was also assessed for any underlying emotional issues that may be contributing to Sarah's symptoms, such as anxiety or trauma.
Based on her initial assessment, together we developed a treatment plan that included several evidence-based interventions.
Psychoeducation: I provided Sarah with education about OCD, including information about the neurobiology of the condition, common symptoms, and treatment options. This was aimed at helping Sarah understand her symptoms and reducing stigma around the condition.
Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT): I introduced EFT to Sarah as a complementary therapy to help reduce the intensity of her obsessive thoughts and anxiety. I taught Sarah how to tap on specific acupuncture points while focusing on her negative emotions and repeating positive affirmations. This was used as a coping strategy to help Sarah manage her symptoms outside of therapy.
Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR): I also introduced EMDR to Sarah as another complementary therapy to help her process any underlying emotional issues that may be contributing to her OCD symptoms. This intervention was used to help Sarah process any past traumas or negative experiences that may be contributing to her symptoms.
Cognitive-behavioural model: Sarah learnt about the cognitive-behavioural model of OCD, which emphasises the role of thoughts, beliefs, and behaviours in the development and maintenance of OCD symptoms.
Mindfulness-based therapy is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on developing non-judgmental awareness and acceptance of present moment experiences, including thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations. Sarah found this to be effective for her condition and symptoms.
Psychotherapy was also effective in treating Sarah’s symptoms, including psychodynamic therapy, interpersonal therapy, and supportive therapy.
Hypnosis and Neuro-lingustic techniques involved suggesting that Sarah is able to control her compulsive behavior and reduce her anxiety in response to her obsessive thoughts. I suggested that she is able to develop new coping strategies and that her compulsions are no longer necessary. This helped Sarah become more aware of her obsessive thoughts and she learnt to respond to them in a more adaptive way, without resorting to compulsive behaviors.
Relapse prevention was a key component of her treatment as this conditions can be chronic and have a high rate of relapse. The relapse prevention program for OCD involve the following components:
Understand OCD and its symptoms, including the triggers and warning signs of relapse.
Understand the importance of continuing treatment and the potential consequences of stopping treatment prematurely.
Identifying triggers: Identify specific triggers that can lead to a relapse, such as stress, life changes, exposure to certain stimuli, or other factors that can exacerbate OCD symptoms.
Developing coping strategies: Practice mindfulness meditation and relaxation exercises to manage symptoms when they occur.
Practice cognitive restructuring to challenge negative thoughts and beliefs.
Engage in regular exercise and activities that promote relaxation and stress reduction.
Avoid excessive alcohol or drug use, which can exacerbate symptoms.
Maintaining treatment gains: Attend regular therapy sessions and continue with medication management if prescribed.
Self-monitor symptoms and journal to identify early warning signs of relapse.
Seek help immediately if symptoms return or worsen.
Developing a support network: Build a support network of family, friends, and healthcare providers who can provide support and encouragement during times of stress or relapse. Attend support groups or seek out online communities of individuals with similar experiences.
After 10 therapy sessions, Sarah reported a significant reduction in her OCD symptoms. She reported feeling less anxious and more in control of her thoughts and behaviors. She also reported using EFT and other coping strategies outside of therapy to manage her symptoms. Sarah left therapy with a plan for ongoing self-care and follow-up as needed. These conditions have to be managed with learning on coping an staying above the symptoms.
Self Esteem and Confidence with John
John is a 35-year-old man who has been struggling with low self-esteem and confidence for several years. He has a history of childhood trauma and has been diagnosed with depression and anxiety. Despite undergoing traditional psychotherapy and medication, John has found it difficult to overcome his negative self-talk and beliefs about himself.
John's was recommended a holistic approach that incorporates neurobiology, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy,
psychotherapy, and hypnotherapy to address his self-esteem and confidence issues.
I explained to John that his low self-esteem and confidence are likely linked to changes in his brain's neurobiology, particularly in the prefrontal cortex and amygdala. By understanding how his brain works, John can develop a more positive self-image and increase his confidence levels.
I also recommended cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to help John identify and challenge his negative self-talk and beliefs. Through CBT, John learned to recognise and reframe his negative thoughts, which helped him develop a more positive self-image.
To complement this, I also recommended hypnotherapy to help him address his underlying emotional issues related to his childhood trauma. During hypnosis, John was able to access his subconscious mind and work through his emotional issues in a safe and supportive environment. He was also able to visualise himself in situations where he felt confident and capable, which helped to build his self-esteem and confidence over time.
After several sessions of neurobiology, CBT psychotherapy, and hypnotherapy, John reported a significant improvement in his self-esteem and confidence levels. He was able to reframe his negative thoughts and beliefs about himself, and he felt more positive and self-assured in social situations. Additionally, John felt more connected to his emotional needs and was better equipped to manage his feelings of anxiety and depression.
This case study illustrates how a holistic approach that incorporates multiple therapy treatment planning and sessions can be an effective tool for improving symptoms in individuals who are struggling with emotional issues. By addressing underlying emotional issues, negative self-talk, and limiting beliefs, individuals can develop a more positive self-image and ultimately, greater self-esteem and confidence.
GEMMA'S TREATMENT PLAN FOR DEPRESSION
Gemma, a 39-year-old woman, was referred to me with symptoms of depression, including persistent sadness, low energy, loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities, changes in appetite, and difficulty sleeping. She has been experiencing these symptoms for the past six months, impacting her overall functioning and quality of life.
Neurobiology: Upon assessment, Gemma underwent a comprehensive evaluation, including a neurological examination and a review of her medical history. The neurobiological assessment revealed decreased activity in the prefrontal cortex, which is associated with regulating mood, as well as dysregulation in the serotonin system. Gemma's neurobiology suggests a biological vulnerability to depression, requiring targeted interventions to address these underlying factors.
I began by introducing Gemma to psychotherapy and cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT). In the initial sessions, we established a strong therapeutic alliance, providing a safe and supportive environment for Gemma to express her emotions and concerns. We went through CBT techniques to help Gemma identify negative thought patterns and develop more adaptive thinking.
Thought Monitoring: Gemma learns to identify and record her negative thoughts and associated emotions. She becomes more aware of cognitive distortions, such as all-or-nothing thinking or overgeneralisation, which contribute to her depressed mood.
Cognitive Restructuring: I guided Gemma in challenging and reframing her negative thoughts. We explore evidence supporting and contradicting these thoughts, helping Gemma develop more balanced and realistic thinking patterns.
Behavioural Activation: Gemma and I collaboratively develop a list of enjoyable activities that she used to engage in before depression. We set achievable goals to gradually reintroduce these activities into her routine, aiming to increase positive reinforcement and improve her mood.
Exercise Routine: Gemma is encouraged to incorporate regular exercise into her daily routine. Exercise has been shown to boost mood and increase the production of endorphins, which can help alleviate depressive symptoms.
Social Support: Gemma is encouraged to maintain and strengthen her social connections. I helped her identify supportive individuals in her life and encourages her to engage in social activities and seek emotional support when needed.
Sleep Hygiene: We discussed the importance of sleep and helped her develop healthy sleep habits using hypnosis. We discussed strategies to improve sleep quality, such as establishing a regular sleep schedule, creating a calming bedtime routine, self-hypnosis and avoiding stimulating activities before bed.
Progress and Follow-Up: Over the course of several months, Gemma shows improvement in her depressive symptoms. She reports increased energy, a more positive outlook, and a regained interest in previously enjoyed activities. Gemma and I continue working together, monitoring her progress and addressing any ongoing challenges or setbacks. Regular check-ins t ensure that her emotional regulation remains effective and appropriate.
This case study highlights an integrated treatment approach for depression, incorporating neurobiology, psychotherapy (specifically CBT), and additional interventions. By addressing the underlying neurobiological factors, modifying negative thought patterns, and utilising a holistic approach, Gemma can experience significant relief from her depressive symptoms and improve her overall well-being.
Contact me today to schedule a personal consultation.
EXAM RELATED STRESS AND ANXIETY
Jess is a 20-year-old college student experiencing significant stress and anxiety related to upcoming exams. She reports symptoms such as racing thoughts, difficulty concentrating, sleep disturbances, and a fear of failure. Jess came to me seeking help to manage her exam-related stress and improve her academic performance.
I suggested a combination of hypnotherapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to address this.
During hypnotherapy sessions, I guided Jess into a relaxed state, where positive suggestions and imagery are used to enhance her confidence, focus, and ability to manage stress. Hypnotherapy helps Jess access her subconscious mind to reinforce positive beliefs, reduce anxiety, and visualize success in exams. It also addresses any underlying issues, such as self-doubt or fear of failure, that may contribute to her exam-related stress.
In CBT sessions, Jess learns to identify and challenge negative thought patterns and cognitive distortions related to exams, replacing them with more realistic and positive thoughts. She acquires stress management techniques, such as deep breathing exercises and relaxation techniques, to cope with exam-related anxiety. Jess also develops effective study skills and time management strategies to enhance her exam preparation and confidence.
After three sessions of hypnotherapy and CBT, Jess experiences significant improvement in managing her exam emotinal state. She reports feeling more confident, focused, and less overwhelmed by the exam pressure. Jess's sleep improves, and she develops effective coping mechanisms to handle exam-related anxiety. Her academic performance also improves as she applies the study skills and time management strategies learned during therapy.
The combined approach of hypnotherapy and CBT equips Jess with the necessary tools and techniques to manage her exam stress, enhancing her well-being and academic success.
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EYE MOVEMENT DESENSITISATION AND REPROCESSING
EMDR WITH EMMA
Emma , a 32-year-old woman, had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following a traumatic event she experienced a year ago. Emma had been involved in a car accident that left her with physical injuries and significant emotional distress.
Emma was referred to me to try EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing.). I explained the EMDR therapy process to Emma and obtained informed consent for treatment. I proceeded to conduct a comprehensive assessment to identify the traumatic event, negative beliefs and emotions associated with the event, and any related memories or triggers.
During our initial sessions, we focused on establishing a sense of safety and stability, and preparing her for the more intensive trauma processing work that would come later. We discussed the eight phases of EMDR therapy, and I explained how each phase would contribute to her overall healing process.
The assessment phase of EMDR therapy involved exploring Emma's personal and medical history, including any prior traumas, medical conditions, and medications. I also assessed Emma's readiness and stability for EMDR therapy, ensuring that she had adequate support and coping skills to manage any emotional distress that may arise during treatment.
After the assessment, I began the treatment using the three-pronged approach of EMDR therapy. Emma's treatment involved eight phases of therapy, with each phase building on the previous one.
During the preparation phase, I helped Emma develop coping skills to manage any distress during the therapy process. Emma also identified her negative beliefs about the traumatic event, such as "I am not safe," "It was my fault," and "I cannot trust others."
Next, I helped Emma identify positive beliefs she would like to replace the negative ones, such as "I am safe now," "It was not my fault," and "I can trust myself." These positive beliefs were installed using bilateral stimulation, and Emma was asked to rate her level of distress using the Subjective Units of Distress (SUD) scale.
The next phase involved accessing the traumatic memory while simultaneously engaging in bilateral stimulation. Emma was asked to visualise the traumatic event and the emotions associated with it. I used bilateral stimulation to help Emma process the traumatic memory while encouraging her to focus on the positive beliefs.
I then conducted several sets of bilateral stimulation, and after each set, Emma was asked to rate her level of distress using the SUD scale. This process continued until Emma's SUD rating was zero, indicating that the traumatic memory no longer elicited a negative emotional response.
I then asked Emma to visualise a future scenario where she would encounter a reminder of the traumatic event. Emma was asked to visualise herself using the positive beliefs to cope with the reminder, while I continued to use bilateral stimulation.
The final phase involved checking in with Emma to ensure that she had achieved a sense of closure and that there were no residual negative emotions or beliefs associated with the traumatic event.
After several sessions of EMDR therapy, Emma reported significant improvement in her symptoms of PTSD. She reported feeling more in control of her emotions and was able to manage any triggers related to the traumatic event.
In conclusion, EMDR therapy is a highly effective treatment for PTSD in the UK. By following the eight phases of therapy, using bilateral stimulation, and the three-pronged approach past, present and future, EMDR therapy can help individuals like Emma overcome the negative effects of trauma and lead a happier, healthier life.