My therapy journey
and what helped me
Seems like such a casual thing to do when you are young and whether you start because of peer pressure, curiosity, an illusion of sophistication or a drunken whim that repeats often enough to become a habit (perhaps a mix of them all), however it begins, stopping smoking is something less of a casual affair.
I can't remember why I started smoking in my late teens. By the time I wanted to stop in my late twenties I didn’t class myself as a heavy smoker but I couldn't imagine enjoying a coffee or a glass of wine without one nor finishing off a nice meal, those habits felt deeply entrenched. I'd heard that a few my friends had tried Hypnotherapy to help them give up smoking and and had managed it after just one or two sessions. The thought of managing the addiction through the power of my mind both intrigued and appealed to me - I've always loved the alternative solution. I was slightly dubious that it could really be that simple, but actually it was. My memory of that session is faint (it was almost 20 years ago), however I can still recall the key things the hypnotherapist said to me during the hypnosis which really made the difference- enabling me to separate myself from the addiction and give up the cigarettes for good.
A few years later, when my Reflexology practice was up and running, I found myself working mainly with pregnant women, helping them prepare for birth and process their experiences afterwards. Their stories were more often than not, quite distressing. When I conceived my first child, I was determined to find a way of achieving a calm, positive birth. I knew that I would need help as I had an irrational deep-rooted fear of childbirth. I had heard that the same therapist I had seen to give up smoking was now offering Hypnobirthing (a relatively new concept in the UK back in in 2004!) and signed myself and my husband up for the course. Again the Hypnotherapy worked its magic for me, rewiring the connections in my brain, enabling me to think differently about birth and empowering me to believe I could have a positive birth experience. My daughter was born at home, as we had wished, my labour relatively short and uncomplicated.
Another few years later down the line, now with two children, I felt the need to seek out my therapist again. I had been through a very stressful period in my life, and although things were moving forward and the circumstances had changed, the anxiety brought on by that time was plaguing me.
I wasn't able to get some of the memories out of my head; it felt like they were right there at the side of my vision, playing over and over and I desperately wanted to just move on and be able to enjoy the present moment, not dwell on the past. I wasn't sleeping very well and thoughts of the events were triggered by simple every day things. Sometimes a wave of anxiety would just come over me in a social situation, for what seemed like no apparent reason. My throat would feel like it was sealed and I couldn’t eat, drink or focus on anything around me - classic anxiety and PTSD.
A few sessions later I was feeling much more myself and ready to move on . At this time my therapist introduced me to EFT, and we tapped on the whole incident, taking the anxiety down until it was gone, working on the blockage in my throat, tightness in my chest until they too were gone. What seemed like small details that sprang to mind as we tapped were then worked on, clearing the debris of emotions and physical feelings that I had attached to those events. We tapped through the events as though they were a movie I was watching from the outside until I got to the point to be able to recall events calmly.
There have been, of course, many more blips along my timeline. Like all of us, I have had my ups and my downs; behaviours that I wanted to shift, situations where I felt out of my depth, and have needed to reach out for help to manage my feelings.
I am human - just like you.
This solution-focused style of therapy combined with Hypnotherapy and EFT have been transformative for me at key times in my life, and I feel passionately that these tools can help you make the shifts you want to make too.