Thursday, 26 May 2016

Targeting the seven basic patterns associated with depression: 1. Dealing with sleep disturbance


This is the first in a series of seven blog posts to be published over the coming weeks in which I will explain briefly how the symptoms of depression are dealt with using hypnotic suggestion and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). I will post links to the other articles as they become available. The session structures are based on the work of the American psychologist Dr Michael Yapko and the co-founder of the "Human Givens" psychological system, Dr Joe Griffin. This approach provides a gradual lifting of depression symptoms over the seven week programme. It works by targeting the unconscious thought processes that the depressed state is built upon.

1. Dealing with sleep disturbance

Problems sleeping are almost invariably present in depression, and they are the first thing I deal with in session one.

Sleep disturbance is generally categorised as Primary, Middle, or Terminal Insomnia. Any of the three types can be associated with depression, but Terminal Insomnia is the most common one for depressed clients.
  1. Primary Insomnia is the term used when one has difficulty falling asleep on first going to bed.
  2. Middle Insomnia refers to waking up after a short time and then being unable to get back to sleep again, thus interrupting the middle part of the sleep cycle.
  3. Terminal Insomnia is the pattern where one awakens an hour or two before they really need to, and are unable to get back to sleep. The terminal or final phase of sleep is disturbed.
In each case, the key factor responsible is what is known as “rumination”. Typically thoughts continue to loop round over and over again as the sufferer tries to solve problems, past present or future. They may be replaying events and conversations or perhaps planning conversations and interactions which are yet to come. It is usually about things which either cannot be resolved, or about which the person has no real control and so feels powerless about. The rumination process seems to develop a life of its own and it feels like it is impossible to stop it.

The process is a purely unconscious one. It is the unconscious mind that is trying to obtain resolution or “closure” on a subject that is outside of its control to do so. Hypnosis is the key to changing this unconscious cycle. It is actually not important what the client is ruminating about, but rather how they do it. The hypnotic session is recorded for the client’s personal use at home. It disrupts and disables the thought patterns of rumination and enables natural sleep to take over. It creates a boundary between waking life and sleeping life, enabling the client to go to sleep with a mind free from life’s waking problems and thus able to naturally replenish and rejuvenate for the next day. It also serves to sabotage the rumination process when it occurs during the waking hours too, and begins to ready the client for the work in session two – which is all about moving away from negativity and starting to see the future with optimism.

Links to the seven stages will be posted here as they become available:
  1. Dealing with sleep disturbance
  2. Looking to the future optimistically
  3. It’s time to do something different
  4. The complex issue of control
  5. Drawing the line
  6. Guilty or not guilty?
  7. Prevention
If you are a depression sufferer and would like a more detailed and specific explanation of how this approach could work for you, please feel free to contact me to organise a free introductory consultation.


021 487 6072

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Is it possible to find balance in life?

In my coaching work I meet many people who tell me they are looking to achieve a better "balance" between their working lives and their family and social lives. For some reason, the phrase popped into my head a couple of days ago while I was enjoying a cup of coffee and I began wondering about the implications of using "balance" as a metaphor.

Of course, when used in this context, "balance" is intended to portray a healthy situation in which all the constituent components are in their right places and in the right amounts. However, there are alternative meanings of the word which imply conflict, or the bearing of multiple burdens, which are perhaps not as useful as concepts. A balance can be a weighing scale, like the zodiac sign Libra, attempting to balance two loads of equal weight. It can refer to a balance of account - the difference between positive assets and negative liabilities. When you lose balance, the outcome is generally not good. It is something that has to be constantly maintained. Whichever way it is used, the metaphor of balance does rather convey the image of trying to accommodate two opposing forces, each entirely separate from the other.

Cats may have nine lives, but as far as we know, humans have just the one. Work life, social life, and family life are actually all aspects of the one life. I would like to suggest that a better metaphor to use is to strive for "harmony" rather than "balance". After all, why should each part of one's life exist in isolation? It's all the one life. 

The three notes of a major chord exist as separate notes, but when played together, simultaneously, they become something greater than the sum of the parts. It can be okay to consider "down" time as part of your job. It's as important to do "down" time well as it is to work hard. Productivity is so much more than the amount of time spent with your nose to the grindstone. A little mental time out can be beneficial; increasing work efficiency rather than decreasing it. I always allow myself time between clients to ensure that I am in the right mental state for the next appointment. Certainly, I could see more people in a shorter time - but I would be much less effective. On the other hand, I do not mind spending time working in "home" time or at weekends if it actually helps me and makes my overall life easier and more effective. Sometimes it is easier just to deal with something now, than to be thinking about doing it tomorrow at work. It's all the one life. It's all what I do. It's all my "job".

Give it a try, and see if it works for you too. Work and personal life do not need to be rigidly delineated. If you occasionally do "home" things in "work" time or vice versa is that any great loss, provided your overall effectiveness is increased in both areas? Try living harmoniously for a change.


021 487 6072