Study for a Diploma in Solution Focused Hypnotherapy – What have you got to lose?!

How about 50lbs of weight loss and counting!

Yesterday, Sunday 7th June, our latest class graduated.  They had been a superb class and had moved from face-to-face classes one a weekend month to Zooming in online due to the COVID crisis.  They took it in their stride and we were all pretty amazed at how well the final three course weekends went.  Yesterday was rather emotional as each student described their experience of the course and the following blog post is just one such story:

Hello, my name is Leeza McCarragher, a mum to a wonderful 2-year old boy and a recent graduate from Clifton Practice Hypnotherapy Training (CPHT) in June 2020. 

When I started my journey to become a Clinical Hypnotherapist, I never imagined my life would change the way it did!  I’ll start at the beginning…

I’ve always wanted to help people, even as a research scientist focusing on the biochemical pathways in breast cancer, I felt I was putting my little piece into the jigsaw that is the cure for cancer.  That feeling I had of getting a little bit closer to a potential cure does not even compare to the feeling I now have as a Clinical Hypnotherapist!  Even when I started my own complementary therapy business in 2014, I still felt something was missing.  It wasn’t until I went online looking at potential courses when CPHT jumped out at me – that was the night that changed my life.

So, September last year arrived, the first month of the course, and I eagerly made my way to class. I was filled with a nervous excitement. I had read that the course was a mix of fun and learning and I could not wait to see if that really was the case!  Well that was quickly confirmed by the smiling and exuberant faces of both Alex and Jennifer – “wow this must really work, look how happy they are!”

Off we started, my fellow students and I, immediately thrown into a fascinating explanation about how the brain works and we were soon practicing language scripts on each other – all on the first weekend!

“I quite like the sound of this, I can really see myself doing this!”  It quickly dawned on me that this was the mix of science and helping people that I craved, that this was my missing piece of my own jigsaw.  As part of our first month’s homework we had to practice the relaxation scripts on friends and family and before I knew it, I was beginning to feel much more positive and motivated.  Was it because I was enjoying the course so much with a wonderful bunch of supportive fellow students (a simple explanation you could surmise)?  Or maybe, just maybe the language patterns were embedding themselves in my own subconscious? Either way, I found myself being more passionate and more motivated.

Over the next few months, we built upon our knowledge and understanding of how the brain works, paying particular attention to the positive aspects of life. I was now practicing on members of the public as case studies and encouraging them towards the most positive and happy life they craved.  But it wasn’t only the clients that were benefiting from this wonderful process, something began to change in me, I noticed that I too was becoming happier, more positive and more active.  I began to feel this motivated energy that I can only explain as being high on happiness.  I no longer procrastinated over the simplest things – I fell in love with life again!  Don’t get me wrong, I always considered myself to be happy but in comparison to how I feel today, I wasn’t even close. 

I hid behind my weight. I had my little boy when I was 42 and blamed my weight gain on the fact that I was an older mum and perhaps even in the early stages of perimenopause. I accepted my new post-pregnancy body, with reluctance, and I even accepted every excuse I could come up with to the fact that I would never lose the baby weight. It wasn’t long into the course when I began to realise why I was thinking and making excuses the way I did and that this negative thinking was what was keeping me fat.  It was my light-bulb moment!  And sure enough, it wasn’t long before I was making healthier food choices and snacking far less.

This new found knowledge and motivational energy, coupled with listening to my own relaxation hypnosis recording every evening before sleep, had me finding the solutions I needed to change my life with no struggle at all because it all made so much sense.  I addressed the lack of exercise by enrolling the help of my little sister, where we both decided to lose our baby weight together by setting ourselves a target of walking 12k steps per day – approximately 6.5 miles (and as I type this I have just completed 130 days of meeting and exceeding this target with no day off – if that isn’t positive motivation I don’t know what is!)

But the most obvious change to me, was that I found myself playing more energetically with my son, be it playing football outside in our back garden or chasing him around the house.  There is no doubt whatsoever that he is loving this newer, brighter and more positive mummy!

We were taught about the 3 Ps during the course – positive thoughts, positive actions and positive interactions, that would give rise to a healthy flow of serotonin. This is needed in order to live a more positive and happier life.  My positive thoughts around healthy food, my positive actions in terms of walking more and my positive interactions with my little sister is truly what turned my life around.  I lost 50lbs within 4 months and continue to do so. 

Enrolling with CPHT transformed my life both mentally and physically and I can’t thank the course tutors and my wonderful classmates enough for helping me on this amazing journey.  I now help others through my new found knowledge and experience, either through one-to-one sessions or running weight management classes. 

They say a picture speaks 1000 words, I’ll let you decide….

 

 

 

 

 

 

My website is www.spiritofcalmhypnotherapy.co.uk  and my facebook page is spirit of calm hypnotherapy

 

What an amazing story.  At CPHT we are very used to hearing students’ feedback at the end of a course and so we know that the course itself changes lives, let alone the fact the newly qualified therapists are changing their clients’ lives too.

We wish our graduates of BF4 all the very best, we know you will be successful because you already have been!

Graduates of CPHT Belfast
The graduates and lecturers of BF4

Check out the next course dates here: www.cphtbelfast.co.uk/dates

 

Ongoing Learning for Hypnotherapy

The Hypnotherapy in Practice Diploma (HPD)

We have more than one option for ongoing study after the primary Hypnotherapy in Practice Diploma (HPD) course, and this is why many of our students choose to our course.

The ten-month HPD course equips our students to work with a very broad range of people with a wide variety of symptoms. In fact, upon completion of the HPD course, there aren’t many things that our graduates can’t help their clients to cope better with.

So, whilst we are proud to offer a complete training course, that does not mean that learning should stop there!

Most successful Hypnotherapists will want to do more Continual Professional Development (CPD) than the minimum required by their Professional Association(s).  CPHT offer a wide range of Continuing Professional Development courses. These are run both across the UK and online via video conferencing/webinars. They range from a focus on different conditions to understanding more about how other modalities work. Some may be more business oriented to help graduates run their businesses more effectively or more profitably.

The Advanced Hypnotherapy Diploma (AHD)

But it is also the provision of additional externally verified qualifications that sets CPHT apart.

Hypnotherapists who have trained with CPHT may want to go on to study the Advanced Hypnotherapy Diploma (AHD). This qualification has been accredited by the NCFE as having measurable learning outcomes that have been benchmarked at Level 5 (HPD is level 4) using Ofqual’s Qualification and Credit Framework (QCF) level descriptions. The AHD involves the completion of a number of specified CPDs.   After which the hypnotherapist will complete a portfolio of evidence that they have understood each learning outcome in the module.

The CPDs include CBT, Mindfulness, and Psychoneuroimmunolgy to name but a few.

Alex Brounger leads the AHD. He is also the Senior Lecturer for CPHT Scotland (Edinburgh and Glasgow) as well as CPHT Belfast.

The Supervisor’s Course:Alex Brounger

In addition, after some years in practice, CPHT Graduates may want to become a Supervisor. This enables them to use their experience and knowledge to help other Hypnotherapists work with their clients and build their businesses.

Like the Advanced Hypnotherapy Diploma, the Supervisor’s Course is a Level 5 course run by CPHT’s Alex Brounger.

 

A day in the life of a hypnotherapist

A Hypnotherapist has a very varied life!

Snakes, spiders, heights, flying… these are common phobias clients arrive at our therapy door with.  There are also some more unusual ones, such as a fear of the colour yellow, a fear of trees and a fear of cheese, yes cheese!

A career, sometimes even a day as a clinical hypnotherapist can be very varied.  The above list of phobias is just the tip of the phobia iceberg, and we work with many other areas in addition to helping our customers sort their phobias. 

Anxiety

The vast majority of our work is helping people to overcome generalised anxiety.  Anxiety is so common in today’s society.  Symptoms have a vast range, from insomnia through to actual pain; from eating too much through to not eating enough; from biting nails to pulling hair out.  All can be caused by anxiety.

No matter what the issues, we can usually help the customer to reduce the anxiety surrounding the problem and regain intellectual control. This is extremely rewarding for both the therapist and customer alike.

Hypnotherapy Training

At Clifton Practice Hypnotherapy Training (CPHT), we teach our students how to deal with the huge variety of issues that their customers will present with.  Different techniques, including the 4-session technique to help overcome phobias and the one-session way of helping someone to stop smoking. When it comes to general anxiety, we know it can take 6-8-12 sessions (sometimes more) to help overcome anxiety. However, we have a ‘client progress’ software tool that allows us to keep track of how quickly clients move forward and this shows some very good results indeed.  It also motivates the client when they see their progress in graph form.

So if you’d like to know more, either read about the course via the HPD tab at the top of this page or call Nicola one of our Senior Lecturers, on 0773 866 5172.

Alex Brounger and Nicola Griffiths, Senior Lecturers at CPHT Belfast
Alex Brounger and Nicola Griffiths – Senior Lecturers

CPHT has been providing Hypnotherapy Training in the UK for over 15 years, with over 20 satellite schools across the UK and a growing international presence.

 

What has Channel 4’s Frasier got to do with you studying to become a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist??

Channel 4 seems to be running “Frasier” every morning on a loop and have been doing so for some considerable time. The moment the eleventh series comes to an end they start at series one/episode one all over again.

It was that very episode I found myself watching today and it made me think. The show begins with a number of scenes which link Frasier Crane’s life as a regular at a bar in Boston called Cheers (in the show of the same name) to his life as the lead character in Frasier. The opening scene shows Frasier in his new job as a radio Psychiatrist, when a chap called Russell calls in to the show complaining he has been feeling depressed: “My life’s not going anywhere… it’s not that bad… it’s just same old apartment, same old job..”

Frasier cuts in with: “Six months ago, I was living in Boston. My wife had left me which was very painful… and then she came back to me which was… excruciating! On top of that my practice had grown stagnant and my social life consisted of hanging around a bar night after night… You see I was clinging to a life that wasn’t working any more and I knew I had to do something… anything! So, I ended the marriage once and for all, packed up my things and moved back here to my home town of Seattle. Go Seahawks! I took action Russell and you can to… move… change… do something. If it’s a mistake do something else… will you do that Russell?”

Of course, it transpires that his advice never actually reaches Russell. Frasier’s inexperience at keeping to the strict timings of his new show means that they had cut to the News halfway through his inspirational speech.

Rarely, despite what it may feel like, do we need to go to the same extremes that Frasier Crane went to, but sometimes in life we need to make a change. We need to “do something!”  People who attend our course change. It is impossible not to. You learn new things, develop new skills, meet like-minded people, start and grow a business and have a great time whilst doing it.

If I were Frasier Crane (and thank goodness I am not!) I would be adding “call CPHT Belfast” to the list of possible actions for Russell to consider.

Why you might like being a Clinical Hypnotherapist

Actually, I don’t like being a Clinical Hypnotherapist, I love it!  Yet when someone suggested I might be good in this area back in 2006, I laughed out loud.  At that point I was a Marketing Manager within the financial services sector and had no inclination to become a therapist.  Ten years later and I just smile at the original suggestion and thank goodness someone did suggest it!

Main Reasons for loving my career

The main reasons are numerous but the top reason must be the reward!  Not financial (that’s covered further on down), but the reward of someone saying “You’ve helped me change my life forever”, or “I can’t believe I’ve done it”, etc, etc.  The list of rewards from customers’ positive feedback is huge.  I can sit there with a huge grin on my face at the end of a session!

Nicola GriffithsMaking a difference to people’s lives is also right up there from the perspective of not simply going into a 9-5 job making money for someone else.  In this career we actually make a difference to people’s lives.

Then there’s the variety of work, I never know what a customer will bring in next that needs sorting out.  There’s also the variety of clients – I’ve worked with children through to pensioners, business people through to sports professionals, parents, students, and more. I’ve even have medical professionals, psychiatrists and psychologists come to see me for help with anxiety and insomnia.

I can choose my own hours of work, within reason.  This means I can walk my dogs in daylight in mid-winter or spend a couple of hours with hubby sitting in the pub garden at lunchtime…over a coffee of course!

Then there’s the scope for expansion.  Not only do I see clients, but I run a health clinic, I was a Supervisor (helping hypnotherapists be the best they can be – but I’m now retired from that), and I teach hypnotherapy to students in Belfast, Manchester and Southampton.  When I trained as a hypnotherapist back in 2017, I never realised the variety of work I would undertake.  And there are still various other options I could take should I wish to!

On top of all that, once my business was established, the pay was very good.  This is not a key driver for me, but the mortgage still needs to be paid nonetheless.

There have been the occasional issues

There have been challenges along the way, such as when a self-employed business goes quiet and you need to focus on marketing to bring in the customers again, plus I was ill for a significant period of time and this meant the income stopped for a while.  But these issues are more than compensated for by the positives.  Plus, if I were still employed (and I say I’m unemployable now), there will always be negatives in any job.

Control of my life

Being self-employed definitely gives me a feeling of being in control of my life.  For instance, not having to ask anyone for time off for a holiday – I just decide when I’m going to go.  I’ll give my clients a bit of advance warning, and away I go.  As mentioned above, I can work when and where I want (within reason).  I also decide how much to pay myself – which is nice!

If someone had said to me early on in my life that I would have been a therapist, let alone a hypnotherapist, I would have laughed out loud.  I’m quite an analytical person and I saw hypnotherapy as up the fluffy end.  Just shows how wrong you can be.  Once I discovered hypnotherapy and started looking into it, I discovered ‘fluffy’ was simply not a word to use with clinical hypnotherapy.  I follow people like David Spiegel, Harvard’s Professor and Associate Chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, who’s an advocate of hypnosis.  In an interview in 2016, when talking about hypnosis, he stated:

““It’s a very powerful means of changing the way we use our minds to control perception and our bodies.”

Well, what’s not to like?

I now enjoy teaching hypnotherapy as much as seeing my clients.  It’s a joy to see the students develop and to

Alex & Nicola, Senior Lecturers at CPHT Belfast.
Alex & Nicola training at CPHT in Belfast

listen to the course feedback each month about how their clients have developed.  One of our students recently fed back on a client’s progress, adding at the end “Talk about being on a high, how amazing is that?  Wonderful this work we do”.

I can’t think of anything better to add than that!

So if you want to make significant changes not only to your life, but those of others, then maybe you should get in touch with us to find out more?  Give us a call on 0773 866 5172 or drop us an email at info@cphtbelfast.co.uk.

Nicola

We teach Marketing too!

Marketing your Hypnotherapy practice

We train our students to become very good clinical hypnotherapists, but we don’t stop there, we also include a marketing module within the course.

Marketing
Marketing!

As Nicola, one of our Senior Lecturers says, “It’s all very well being good at what you do, but unless people know what you can do, then you’re not going to get the clients”.

We see our Graduates succeeding when they employ the marketing techniques we teach them.  Most people track down therapists from an online search, however when it comes to hypnotherapy, the public may not realise the diverse range of issues we can help with, so they may not ‘Google’ it in the first place.  That’s why we tell our students to advertise in magazines; network with other therapists; put posters up plus a load of other ideas.

For instance, who knows that hypnotherapy can help with Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Obsessive Compulsive Disorders?  Whereas it is commonly known that we can help with fears and phobias, it may not be so well known that we can help with skin disorders or, at the other end of the scale, helping athletes get to the top of their game!

So that’s why we talk through in class, not only the technical side of how the brain works, how hypnotherapy works and all the technical side of things, but we chat through how to set up a business and how to market it! Oh, and we also make the whole thing fun, we know the brain will take information on in a better way when it’s having fun!

If you want to know more about how you can become a successful clinical solution focused hypnotherapist, get in touch. Call Nicola on 0773 866 5172.

 

Train with us and your Hypnotherapy clients may be saying these 10 things:

There still remains a lot of mystery and myth around Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy. The fact remains that good quality scientific evidence is building and continuing to support this talking therapy.

This research is showing that it is an effective way to help people cope with a wide range of symptoms and conditions. Fortunately, many people are looking beyond the nonsense and focusing on this evidence.

Train with us and the people you work with may well say the following to you:

1. Hypnotherapy has helped me sleep better

Good sleep is a cornerstone for good health. By entering into a meditative or hypnotic trance state, we are effectively practicing the precursor stages of sleep.  This means when it comes to bedtime we are better able to drift off. Hypnosis also replicates the same processes that take place during Rapid Eye Movement (REM) in sleep, which means we can have less REM sleep during the night. Having too much REM sleep at night can wake us up, resulting in a disturbed sleep pattern.

If clients sleep well they will find it easier to maintain a healthy weight, cope with stress better and wake feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day.

2. Hypnotherapy has helped make me more confident Happy and confident

Hypnosis can help release us from fear (even if we don’t recognise it as such) and gain access to the solution-finding brilliance of the intellectual brain. This results in feelings of confidence and empowerment as we become better adept at coping with life’s challenges.

Self-doubt slips away as it becomes easier to do those positive things that result in the release of natural feel good chemicals in the brain. Don’t just survive… thrive!

3. Hypnotherapy has helped me become less irritable

Irritability, or flashes of anger, result from an over activation of the amygdala in the brain. Hypnosis encourages the amygdala to calm down which become less trigger happy. This means we are less likely to have these moments.

4. Hypnotherapy has helped me feel more energetic:

Hypnosis activates the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest response) which, in very basic terms, is the opposite to the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight response). The rest and digest response is, broadly speaking, regenerative or energy giving. The fight flight response is generally energy sapping.

By accessing a state of hypnosis, we restore our natural balance between these two parts of the nervous system. Better energy is a lovely side affect of this.

5. Hypnotherapy has helped me gain control over…

People often suggest they do not like the idea of hypnosis and hypnotherapy because it involves giving up control of their mind to someone else. This is complete nonsense.  In fact, Dr. David Spiegel, Associate Chair of Psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine suggests:

“…hypnosis is not mind control. It’s a naturally occurring state of concentration; it’s actually a means of enhancing your control over both your mind and your body.”

6. Hypnotherapy has helped me think more clearly

A relaxed mind is a clear mind. By entering into a state of focused attention (hypnosis) our mind can relax and put our worries and fears to one side for a little while. Our primitive mind, or limbic system, becomes less active enabling resources to be sent to those areas of the brain which are better able to come up with solutions.  This allows us to consider our worries and troubles from a different perspective.  This gives the brain space and time to find its own solutions.

7. Hypnotherapy has made me more positive

Anything can be improved through practice. Positivity is no different. A good hypnotherapist (which you will become by training at CPHT Belfast) will want their clients to practice being positive. Consequently we can more readily identify the good things that are going on in our lives.

8. Hypnotherapy has improved my relationship with my parent/child/partner…

Having Fun

Relationships driven by irritability, lack of sleep and negativity are rarely good ones! Primitive brain responses to our loved one’s comments and actions (or lack of) do not lead to a positive relationship either. Worse, sometimes we can be so lost in our own previous patterns of behaviour we do not notice when it is us that is being the bad guy.

By accessing our intellectual capacity more frequently, through hypnotherapy, we are better able to manage disagreements, keep things in perspective and work towards conversations that work for everyone.

9. I enjoy coming to see you!

Modern therapy should be enjoyable. We learn better when we are in a positive and relaxed frame of mind and modern therapy is often about learning new ways of doing, thinking and interacting. Hypnosis itself certainly should be a positive and enjoyable experience if we are to get the most out of it.

10. I feel younger (and you’ll probably think they look it too!)

Okay, so I have to be a bit careful what I say here, especially as I am not aware of any studies which have actually proved this. However, I can say with complete confidence that people who come to see me for their last session typically look younger than they did when they came to see me for their first session! It can probably put down to getting benefit from reasons 1-9 above.

Would you like to train to be Hypnotherapist?

If encouraging the above life improvements in other people (and yourself) appeals to you then why not contact us for more information about training to become a Hypnotherapist. You may well be very surprised at how you can help people and by how much!Alex Brounger

This blog has been adapted from “10 Reasons You Should See a (Qualified) Hypnotherapist Now” at Hypnotherapy.Guru (aka Alex Brounger one of the Senior Lecturers for CPHT Belfast).

Second Course of Hypnotherapy Training

Hypnotherapy Practitioner Diploma (HPD)

Since writing our last blog, six of our students from the first Hypnotherapy Practitioner Diploma course have received their Hypnotherapy Practitioner Diploma (HPD).  This is seen as the gold-standard qualification within the hypnotherapy world and awarded by the National Council for Hypnotherapy.

Well done indeed to those students who submitted a portfolio of work, including case studies.  The National Council for Hypnotherapy fed back that those portfolios were ‘Of a very high standard’.  We’re rather chuffed with you guys and gals!

Next course is already up and running

Not being ones to hang around, our next course is on its second month. Already the students are working with volunteers and feedback has been very good indeed.  The students have been somewhat surprised at how they have noticed a difference to people suffering from all sorts of symptoms so early on in their training.

Next month they will start working with people who have anxiety and depression.  Not only does this mean that people volunteering to work with the students will hopefully feel better, but it adds to the students’ confidence as they see how empowering hypnotherapy can be.

CPHT Manchester

Nicola GriffithsNicola, our co-lecturer at Belfast, is now also running the CPHT Manchester school of training and their next course kicks off in February.  So if you know anyone in that area who wants to make a significant change to their lives, and to the lives of others, then do get in touch! (www.cphtmanchester.co.uk)

Finally, if you feel you could benefit from feeling better in some way, do get in touch with us.  You could work with one of our students on a voluntary basis or we could put you in touch with one of our graduates who have some good experience working in these areas.

Nicola and Alex

www.cphtbelfast.co.uk

 

Let’s Research If Hypnotherapy Works?

Research Programme for our Students

One of the questions our students are likely to have to answer from friends and colleagues, both during and after their hypnotherapy training is “Does hypnotherapy work?”

It is tempting to answer with a very short and simple “yes!” followed by a torrent of personal examples which students at CPHT Belfast have quickly amassed.  But stories and anecdotal evidence is not solid evidence.

There is a huge amount of very good quality evidence already out there about the effectiveness of solution focused therapy and the benefits of hypnosis.  This is also supported by the latest understanding in neuroscience.  As with all things, it sometimes takes a little time for evidence to become mainstream and more widely accepted by the public and the medical fraternity.  That should not be an excuse to sit and wait though.

At CPHT Belfast we encourage all our hypnotherapy students to participate in a far-reaching research programme. This has already demonstrated the effectiveness of Solution Focused Hypnotherapy.

The Research Programme:

By definition, solution focused therapy focuses on solutions rather than problems. This presents challenges in trying to measure its effectiveness.  The moment you start asking questions about symptoms (which some research programmes encourage in order to identify improvements or otherwise) you are focusing the client on problems. Generally, our clients are already well practised at looking at their problems and this is something we want to change in order to see improvement in their wellbeing. However, CORP (Clifton Practice Outcome Rating Programme) has been designed to measure effectiveness whilst remaining positive and solution focused.

We train our students to use the software in a very simple way that fits seamlessly into sessions and benefits both the student and client. Students ask their customers to rate themselves against the following scales in the initial consultation and at the end of each session thereafter.

The seven scales:

1/ How positive have your thoughts been?

2/ How interactive have you been with others?

3/ How would you rate your level of activity?

4/ How would you rate your confidence?

5/ How well are you utilising your strengths and resources?

6/ How much have you achieved?

7/ How would you rate your level of happiness?

The software allocates a score out of 10 for each answer and the changes are measured over a period of time and illustrated in graph form.  Now both student and customer can easily see what has changed across the scales.

We generally introduce the programme in module 6 of the 10-month course. This gives students chance to get a firm understanding of how Solution Focused Hypnotherapy works and get some practice under their belt before taking part. After all, once they start using the software their outcomes will feed into the overall research programme and compare their results against their peers (which at the time of writing includes more than eighty Solution Focused Hypnotherapists), so we want them to be on a level playing field from the off.

The Benefits:

Students quickly realise the power of being part of this exciting piece of research. Not only do they benefit as practitioners (being able to compare their results to the global results of the other participating hypnotherapists), but the clients benefit from being able to see their own progress. The clients then have an expectation of the

Hypnotherapy Research Programme
Improvement rating

progress they can make from past global results. They are also reminded of the areas they should focus on to maximise their improvements.

And to those that do not believe the anecdotes, our students can show and explain this research programme and its results!

Train to be a Hypnotherapist in Belfast and become part of this exciting research:

Would you like to know more about becoming a Hypnotherapist? Do you live in Ireland or Northern Ireland?  Train with CPHT Belfast and participate in this powerful research programme which is helping to change the perception of Hypnotherapy?

The Power of the Next Small Step

Clients and supervisees are often talking to me about the need to get things done. Getting started on that goal, big or small. Whether its clearing out the garage or starting a new career. What is it that seems to be holding us back. I’ll not get in to the neuroscience of why we might procrastinate here, but I will tell you about one of the most powerful tools I have learnt to help beat procrastination, at least some of the time.

Several years ago I was lucky enough to attend a CPD (Continual Professional Development) event at CPHT Bristol, where I trained to be a Hypnotherapist in the first place. The CPD was on Mindfulness and Acceptance Based Strategies. The highly respected lecturer, Matthew Dyson, asked the group the following question: “where do you get the motivation to get on the treadmill from?” The group gave several answers including: “by visualising yourself getting fitter”; “reminding yourself how good you feel when you are done”; “thinking about the guilt free glass of wine afterwards!” None of these were the answer he was looking for. As Matthew explained, “The truth is you get the motivation for getting on the treadmill when you get on the treadmill”!

The next small step

And it’s true of course, you get motivation to get up and do, when you get up and do.

Small steps make a difference.

Again I won’t go in to the details of the neuroscience behind that, but it does remind us of the importance of simply focusing on the next small step.

Let me give you an example. I am a regular gym goer. I enjoy being at the gym. Notice I write “I enjoy being at the gym”. I often don’t enjoy getting there. Getting myself changed, ready, in the car and down to the gym with the thought in my head that I am going to put my body through its paces is often very difficult.

More recently I have chosen to simply focus on the next small step to get me there.

First I might simply focus on the task of getting my trainers on. Then I focus on finding the car keys (why does that always take so long?). Then I focus on the job of getting in to the car. Throughout this whole process and on arrival I am telling myself: “just ten minutes and then you can go home, just ten minutes!” I stick out 5 minutes and then 10 and then, usually, the strangest thing has happened. Now I am warmed up, my heart is pumping, I am becoming less stiff and awkward, energy is returning, and the oxygen to my brain increases. I am building up momentum, I have got myself on the treadmill and that is where I find my motivation!

Now that I am there and have done my 10 minutes its rare I do less than 50, but my intention on arrival is always to do only 10.

The same principle can be applied to anything. We know the primitive brain can over-inflate the size of any task and underestimate our ability to achieve it. By focusing on that next small step with the understanding that we can stop and go home at any point we can gently steer ourselves more towards those activities which lead us to our goals and further from those that don’t. Just one small step!

Are you thinking of becoming a Hypnotherapist? Do you live in Northern Ireland and want to train in Belfast? I wonder if your next small step is simply to complete this application form: cphtbelfast.co.uk/application-form/… After all a “journey of a thousand miles starts with just one small step”- Lao Tzu.