In my work as a solution focused hypnotherapist one of the things I help clients do is to recognise and believe that there is a way for them to make positive change despite whatever challenge they may face or disappointment they may have experienced. We all want change to be immediate and to take all our problems away instantly yet deep down inside we all know that this is not realistic. Change is rarely a single event but is mostly the result of a process.
The biggest hurdle to change is mindset. A negative perspective will highlight only what has gone wrong in the past and what will go wrong in the future and will lead us to despair, demotivation and at times depression. Our problems can cause both physical and emotional pain; physical pain from illness or injury, emotional pain from relationship breakdown, career uncertainty and financial stress. It’s human nature to want to run away from pain and stress and primitive man found this to be an highly effective strategy in his world where simple survival was an everyday struggle. In modern times our desire to run away from pain and stress can lead us to seek solace in alcohol, drug use, nicotine, food, gambling etc. and yet these types of solace are often addictive but overtime lower our mood even further and also compromise our physical health.
A former client of mine was a professional sportsman who had suffered a bad injury whilst playing. His rehab was frustrating him as he continued to experience physical pain and to lose belief that he would ever regain his previous level of fitness. Not surprisingly his increasing low mood was exacerbated by poor sleep and by him continuing to over-analyse what had gone wrong in the match that led to him being injured. In our first consultation he admitted that he re-played the match over and over in his mind and whilst he realised this was not helping him, he felt unable to stop. His hopes and ambitions for the future had gone as all he could envisage was the loss of his career, source of income, loneliness as well as feeling unqualified to do anything else.
I firstly explained a little bit about what Solution Focused Hypnotherapy was (no swinging pocket watches in my consulting room nor any lengthy analysis of the past!). Drawing on evidence-based research in the field of neuroscience I introduced him to the workings of the brain and how when we allow negative emotional to overwhelm us the resulting ‘amygdala hijack’ would lead us on a roller-coaster of worst case scenarios thereby robbing us of rational thought and the problem solving ability of the pre-frontal cortex. We also touched on the relationship between high levels of stress hormones, inflammation and pain as well as my explaining how his sleep needs to be improved. He seemed intrigued and was able to apply our discussion to his situation – he also said he felt more optimistic than he had for quite a while! Music to my ears!
As I knew he played competitive team sport which had rules I established two initial rules for our sessions, punctuality and no complaining or moaning – this was solution focused therapy after all! And we were retraining his mind to focus on noticing the positives, no matter how small they might appear to be – just like learning a new set-piece for the playing field.
Over the course of our sessions we were able to reduce his stress levels and his sleep quickly improved. He reported feeling brighter in himself as well as being as being able to consider his future more positively. He also said that his rehab was feeling more manageable and even enjoyable and that his pain had reduced dramatically. I’m happy to say that his injury healed and he successfully continued his playing career.
Solution focused hypnotherapy is becoming more widely recognized as beneficial within the sports and medical environment; helping with depression in terminally ill patients, with young patients, rehabilitation of wounded and injured, aiding pain management, needle phobias etc. We are not doctors, nor physios, nor osteopaths. What we are able to do is recognise our client as being an individual who exists as separate to their illness or their injury, we recognise them as being the expert in themselves and whilst we are solution focused we offer them acknowledgement of their struggles as well as helping them recognise and draw on their own inner strengths and resources during their treatment or rehabilitation.
Clinical Solution Focused Hypnotherapist 07899 625 156