Thursday, 12 December 2013

The origins of Trauma

Many of my clients have suffered trauma in their lives. Often in childhood but sometimes re-ignited in adulthood through accident or loss. The many symptoms that this causes are a disparate group of issues such as panic attacks, depression, anxiety, disconnection, lack of emotion (or, conversely an overload of emotion). A lot of the hypnotherapy literature is aimed at changing people's thinking, beliefs and thus behaviours (especially cognitive behavioural- based therapy) but this ignores that trauma is an invisible (subconscious) driver which does not respond to talk therapies. you can analyse your feelings all you like but if you are not addressing the old unconscious memories then you will only scratch the surface.

So, what is a trauma and how is it formed? According to a theory developed by Ronald R Ruden in h
is book 'The past is always present', for a memory to be traumatic it has to be inescapable. So, it triggers and ancient survival mechanism which encodes something so well that it cannot be erased - in order to prevent you suffering that fate in the future. An event is only an event unless it has 3 major components; a strong emotion, a sensory input (sight, smell, taste, sound, feel) and a cognition or belief around that feeling e.g. I'm a bad person, I'll never escape this, I'm all washed up, etc.

The next time you have a similar strong emotion the brain links the two events together and they combine to form one big cumulative memory. And, astonishingly, time does not erase the power of the memory. When you  feel the emotion it is as if it is happening right now in the present. Hence people can be completely stuck with these uncontrollable feelings which limit them in subtle and not-so-subtle ways.

Saturday, 30 November 2013


EMDR stand for Eye movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing which is a new tool I have recently learnt to deal with Trauma (usually childhood although it can be a more recent trauma which is reigniting the old one). When you are young your memories are not stored by your prefrontal cortex as they are in the adult. hey are stored in a more primitive part of the brain called the limbic system composed of the amygdala - modulated by the hippocampus. It is the interaction between these two which decides whether the event is to be avoided in future and if it is it encodes it in a particular way with the resulting emotion and the sensations felt at the initial event. Unfortunately for us if we feel that emotion at a subsequent time the old event and emotion recurs as if it was happening today'. Traumatic memories are permanent, additive and present. Trauma may occur when no escape is possible so it may be accident, bereavement or abuse. But what the mind interpret as 'inescapable' is dependent on your developmental stage. For a very young child, just her mother ignoring her when she reaches out is enough to trigger the system. It is almost impossible not to create some trauma as we grow up, even in functional families. The possibility obviously increases in dysfunctional families.

So how does EMDR work? By stimulating the brain bilaterally i.e one side to the other, this allows memories and their resulting emotion to be desensitised i.e. disconnected from eachother. Now you can remember the event but you are no longer triggered emotionally. This is very important as the stress of being constantly trigger unconsciously by events you may not even remember is very distressing to the body and puts it in a continuous state of alert known as 'hypervigilance'.
By following the therapist's fingers as they move from side to side with your eyes you are mimicking what the brain does during REM (Rapid Eye movement Sleep) as it 'prunes' the memories you had that day and allows only the relevant parts of them to be stored. You couldn't possibly remember everything that ever happened to you in your conscious brain. It would get completely overloaded. so the brain has devised this mechanism to help process the memories and EMDR does the same thing but can be applied at a much later stage than the original event. It doesn't matter if years have passed from what happened - in the limbic brain there is only the present and all event that are similar are linked by neuronal connections.
So, in a typical session you start by imagining the original emotion (this is very different to talk therapies where we largely talk 'around' difficult events). We need to get you in the emotional state so that the neuronal pathway is firing. We then do a round or two of the finger movement until the original distress rating (or - SUDS score - Subjective Units of Distress) is reduced. People often have other memories come up which are linked to the recent event and we work on each one until the distress causes by the memory is reduced to 0. EMDR does revisit the trauma but it does not relive the trauma (there is no revivification) as the bilateral stimulation works very quickly to defuse the emotion.
If any of this sounds improbable, it has been very well documented in the literature since it was invented by psychologist Helen Shapiro. It has been used extensively with Post-traumatic stress syndrome with service personnel. But it works with everyday traumas too and my initial forays into using it are showing me that it is, indeed, a miraculous tool. I am using it in my hypnotherapy clinic (it is not, strictly speaking a hypnotherapy tool) as it marries very well with these techniques. Do contact me if you are interested.  07973 417312




Saturday, 20 July 2013

Clinical Hypnotherapist at last!

2 weeks ago I graduated in Clinical hypnotherapy, clutching my certificate and thinking 'now what?'. I have focussed on this moment for the last year so if feels odd to suddenly be free to practise but not know how to start. I have a website which has my hypnotherapy page. I try to update regularly and there are some free downloads on that website including some explaining hypnotherapy and the particular use I make of it for chronic conditions. as a tool for re-arranging the mindbody link (where certain memories/traumas are encoded in the body) I find it unsurpassed.

I am aiming to  use it to help clients overcome any limitation whether that be physical, emotional or mental. There is so much trauma out there - and most of it not obvious. A lot of disease has its roots in childhood trauma; it may be something obvious like abuse but often it is something more indistinct - an unloving parent, lack of stability, etc. We may think we have 'got over it' because we have made lives for ourselves as adults but in fact there are lingering beliefs and values that trip us up. Feelings of unworthiness for instance, dog us at every step (particularly women I find though it's not exclusive to them). Ultimately we believe that we ought not to give up security to live the life we want - we ought to work harder, strive for the love that's missing in our lives, do more, be more, and so on. This is exhausting and the longer we 'try' the more we focus on not being true to ourselves. This is how we slowly but surely succumb to dis-ease and depression.

It's not easy to become aware of these subconscious beliefs - it's not simply a case of 'deciding' to let go. This is a process and it needs
  1. awareness - becoming mindful of what you tell yourself - the negative self-talk e.g  'I'm useless'
  2. challenge - here's where we ask the all important question - is that true? 'what at everything?'
  3. substitution - CBT therapists like myself use the term 'restructuring'. 'I'm good at other things'

Hypnosis makes this process infinitely more powerful as it talks to a deeper part of you that is holding on to these beliefs by switching off the analytical mind. You can't make these changes by willpower alone. You have to have access to that deeper part of you - and there are many techniques for doing this of which hypnosis, meditation, breath-work and bodywork (massage, Reiki) are some.

My reading and practice makes it clear that no one size fits all in this respect. Some people respond more to touch, others to a mindful exploration. That is why, in the end I have chosen to call myself a 'holistic therapist' and not one or the other. I treat the person not the disease/condition. This means I have to choose from a range of approaches and, working with the client, design a treatment plan. Nutrition is always a part because you can't work on a body that is struggling with toxins and expect it to work optimally. But ultimately, I use intuition and consultation with the client to work together to heal whatever they have come in with. This is true (w)holism. Interestingly the words whole, and heal come from the same root which signifies to me that for true healing we must become whole again. I'll leave with that profound thought...

Sunday, 19 May 2013

My theory of mindbody

Coming to the end of my hypnotherapy training now and what an eye opener it has been! I am beginning to see how powerfully we are limited by our beliefs. Not just in our behaviours but in our physical ailments..
Hypnotherapy is widely understood to be powerful in treating habits and unwanted behaviours like smoking and overeating. It also has proven use in treating depression and anxiety (something I am very interested in having suffered myself) but the degree to which it can reverse chronic pain is a new area and one which I am currently developing.

I have long used EFT (Emotional Freedom technique)  in pain control - the tapping sequence appears to stimulate the amygdala or other deep emotional centres of the brain and allows pain that is pychosomatic in origin (that is it results from the body memory of trauma or some other unresolved emotion like grief or anger) to be reduced/released. This requires a degree of positive intention and focus on the part of the person doing it and is best directed by a skilled practitioner as the feelings that come up can be frightening if done on one's own. I recently had a client who told me she was tapping over her labyrinthitis (technical name for inflammation of the ear canal causing dizziness) and started to shake which scared her so much she stopped. When I explained that animals do this to release trauma and it is, in fact a healthy reaction, she was much relieved. (see Peter Levine's book 'Releasing the Tiger' for more details of this).

But the use of hypnotherapy in this medium is still in it's infancy - it has been used in pain control during dental and operative procedures but in terms of pain reduction/removal in chronic conditions like Fibromyalgia and arthritis its use is not widely known. This is something I would like to change. Indeed, I have just written about the subject in my dissertation for my Higher International Diploma in Naturopathy with the School of Natural Health Sciences (
I have titled it 'Treating chronic pain with hypnotherapy and EFT'.

I have found in the course of my studies and working with clients that much of the pain of these so-called physical diseases has its roots in the emotional responses and can be altered with hypnotherapeutic intervention. When you take someone into hypnosis their critical mind (the monkey mind - the analytical, critical voice inside our heads) is quietened and therefore set aside for a while and we can communicate directly by the larger subconscious mind. This allows us to get to the root of where the negative feelings reside (past memories, physical trauma) and allows us to challenge and rewrite the thoughts and feelings.
By using certain techqniques such as consulting the inner coach and perceptual positions (detailed more completely in my download from the hypnotherapy page of my website  one can unravel these complex mindbody associations.

This has lead me to develop my theory that most if not all physical disease may have its origins in the subconscious mind. How else to explain the complete remission of cancer in people like Anita Moorjani (see her book 'Dying to be me')? I understand that the subconscious is a metaphor or working model of a complex neurology (there is no true separation of minds in physical terms - it is a process of thinking that differs) and there is much still to learn in this fascinating field. But I am beginning to find such remarkable results from treating physical disease in this way that I am speculating that there is nothing that cannot be cured if you have the right tools to do so. The mindbody interaction may be the key to this process.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Hypnotherapy influences

As some of you know I am busy doing the HPD Hypnotherapy diploma at the moment which is becoming recognised as the top qualification in the UK. Am currently up to my eyes in writing my case notes for my case studies. I am very pleased to find that even with my relative inexperience I can make a difference to the people I am seeing. I have four very different clients with different problems; cravings, lack of motivation, overcoming pain and trauma, finding peace and an authentic voice. You wouldn't believe perhaps that hypnotherapy could help such a disparate group of issues but clearly it can and does.

I am a CBT therapist in that I believe in giving people skills that they can use outside of therapy and in their future lives using evidence-based methods. I am influence by many different therapist - Michael Yapko is one clinician/writer who I really rate. His writing is really top-notch and his understanding that it is the therapist/client interaction that makes the most difference in outcome is something that I have a lot of belief in. However, I have also been heavily influence by the work of Gil Boyne. If you’ve been interested in hypnosis for any time, you’ll no doubt have heard of Gil Boyne, who is one of the most famous hypnotherapists of this century.

His skilful use of suggestion and age regression to overcome trauma have been very illuminating. Gil trained more than 12,000 hypnotists worldwide, and many more benefit from his work without knowing where it came from. Although Gil died in May 2010 I  found out that his work is available online and I took the plunge and subscribed so I could see his methods and learn from someone with 55 years of clinical experience . If any of you are interested in seeing a master at work just check out;
What I loved about his approach is it's simplicity and honesty - here is a man who not only really cared about his clients but had the depth of knowledge and clinical experience to pull it off. If any of you are interested in becoming a hypnotherapist, or just someone with an interest in hypnosis, there is no better person to learn from than one of the pioneers of modern hypnotherapy, so I recommend you check it out while it’s on special offer right now. As it's in dollars not pounds when you add in the strength of the pound right now it really isn't expensive - around £75 . Then, if that piques your interest contact the Adam Eason School of hypnotherapy and do a course - I did it out of interest to see what hypnotherapy was and found it personally and professionally transformative.
Anyway better get back to the case studies- hypnotherapy is SO COOL and I am really excited to be doing it...

Monday, 15 April 2013

Superfoods and healing

Last Tuesday was present at an inspirational talk by Kavi Jezzie Hockaday at the Art House cafe in Southampton - someone who has healed himself from Inflammatory Bowel Disease which is a pretty astonishing thing. He did it over 10 years of Ayurvedic and emotional cleansing which he admitted is very hard and by the sounds of it 3 sessions of 6 week juice cleanses plus numerous other treatments it wasn't an easy path to tread. Much easier to take the tablets and look to surgery to sort it out. His consultant assured him he would 'be back' as alternative methods didn't work. I felt while listening and indeed, looking round the room, that people were fascinated to hear this story, that is not often told.
Today he eats a diet which is centred around raw, whole and superfoods (things like Spirulina, Chlorells, Maca and Raw Cacao, Coconut, etc. his website is one I have promoted to several friends and intend to make a part of my practice of holistic healing.

When my new practice is fully operational with the hypnotherapy now the case! Ed) I want to offer a range of treatments depending on the person and the issues they have. I realised early on that just offering massage, for instance, doesn't work for everyone. Some people need more emotional healing (which can be a big part of physical illness) and others want to reconnect with their bodies. Whatever issues they have there are different options available. My model is to offer a treatment protocol, including those therapies that I offer plus others from different therapies - a team-based idea. And Nutritional Medicine will be at the heart of that.

I heard today from a friend who has just had an operation and is wondering why things are taking a long time to heal. I asked her - what are you doing to speed your healing? Nothing of course. The hospital give you a bag of painkillers to last several months but at no point do they tell you - increase your vitamin C intake, make sure you eat a lot of green foods for the next several months, etc. you are left to 'heal' at your own pace and, depending on the inadequacy of your diet, that could take a long time. So, superfoods could be ideal for someone in her situation - the readily assimilable nature of the green powders(chlorella, spirulina and wheatgrass) makes them powerful stimulants for repair and renewal of the tissues of the body.

I do want to use more of these foods - in my blended drinks for example. Currently I have been relying on my stalwart spinach and orange drink - but have been finding it hard to find the motivation where it has been so cold. Now that spring is finally here and things are warming up I may find my body accepts these cold foods better. I look forward to a dialogue with Kavi over his approach to health and healing. I can honestly say he shone. At 54 he looked younger than many people 10 years younger. There were some grey hairs sure, but he had an inner light and a body that just vibrated with health. He still has some issues to deal with - Reynauds' for instance (which I have too and is now recognised as an auto-immune disease which is intimately linked to gut health) . Like he said, healing is an ongoing process. We are never finished til we die.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Talking hypnotherapy 2

As I know I have probably put off a lot of my male followers with talk of women's issues (!) I'd like to turn a little to the experience I am having with the hypnotherapy training. I am now in my 7th month of training and have finally been let loose on the public (well just those willing to have a free 'case study' series of sessions with me). I am having good results already, even with people I already know - which is supposed to reduce your objectivity. Just knowing what questions to ask and then using the appropriate techniques; mindfulness exposure, swish pattern(an NLP technique), the Dickens pattern, etc seems to reveal so much about our underlying thoughts, associations and beliefs.

People who have been working with me are already seeing changes in their behaviour in a very positive direction. I don't want to brag just to acknowledge how powerful this is - even after 2 or 3 sessions things are being revealed which have been long hidden.
I am quick to point out this is not a failure of willpower or intellect on the part of those who are undergoing treatment with me. It is just that these beliefs are very well disguised under layers of rationalisation; 'I want to go out but it's probably not worth it (underlying belief ; I am at risk/insecure if I leave home). 'I need chocolate' (belief; it makes me feel nurtured and loved which I am missing), I can't give in to my partner's demands (belief; if I give in it makes me weak). These are the things that drive us. It's remarkable how uncovering the hidden reason for our behaviour changes the way we perceive them. The first step to change is awareness and that I guess is what hypnosis does quicker than anything.

I have decided to launch my new therapy business (including hypnotherapy) with the name Alchemy therapies This is not finished yet - I need a new logo and obviously content but the process has begun (all done now, Ed). I am hoping to launch in July with some cut-price offers between now and then while I am still training. I will keep my Facebook page Patricia Worby Holistic Health posted with updates.

Supplements, scans and dental amalgam - warning women's issues!

Had my scan this week to assess how my detox (supplement and herb) routine is going. The results were not too bad . The largest fibroid is 7 x 6 x 6 cm which, although large enough to be felt by me is definitely less than it was the first time I had scan 2 years ago. Of course some of that is due to the operation I had (a UAE) but I feel sure that the herbs I am using (from a protocol developed by Amanda Leto, and with some amendments by Marilyn Glenville). I take about 12 per day including P-cleanse (to rid the body or parasites, NAC, Serrapeptase, Inositol and Choline, a special women's multi that includes maca, agnus castus, red clover, sasparilla as well as vitamins A, E. I am also dosing high on Spirulina and Chlorella (for inducing alkalinity and detoxing heavy metals), low acidity Vitamin C (magnesium citrate) as well as my normal omega-3's and stuff. however, after 5 weeks I now feel a bit jaded by the constant pill taking. I want to continue of course but it's a pain having to get them out each morning and remembering to take them. I'm being honest here.

I want to do the juice cleanse but it's so cold at the moment I can't face it. It's due to warm up a bit next week so hopefully I can at least do one day. I find I lack motivation which is hard as i know it'll be good for me and tell other people to do this but again it's tough sometimes when your body feels like hibernating.

I went to a new dentist last week to ask about removal of dental amalgam (which I am sure is contributing to my problems - mercury seems to depress the thyroid as well as liver function which I am know is compromised in fibroid conditions). There is also a new book which I downloaded yesterday which talks about the OAT axis - oestrogen, the adrenals and the thyroid. I knew instinctively there was a link but now I know why. I do recommend it; it's called 'OAT balance' by Dr Michael Lam and the Kindle version is available for download for 77p. That's right. But it's only a chapter of his book it turns out so in reality that's probably the right price.. Very interesting.
so many women have these problems and they are never told what they can do about it. My sonographer at the hospital was a lovely black woman who, although she was gentle and kind, knew nothing about why fibroids occur, or how you can treat them naturally. So, I ended up telling her about it and the fact that black women are 5x more likely than white women to get them. It is a statistical fact that 90% of African-American women in the US have a hysterectomy by the time they are 60. That's right that's almost all of them. This is licenced mutilation. I will say no more.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Fibro update

2nd week of restricted diet and special herbs and supplements. Though I will admit I broke my no gluten rule today by having a biscuit! Never mind, I know better than to berate myself. It's ok. generally I'm sticking to the diet 80% of the time and that's pretty good. i had salad for lunch with soup and an oat based muesli for breakfast. I am now drinking my Roibos (redbush) tea and contemplating the fact that my period this month was virtually pain free and I have already lost weight - 3 pounds to be exact. I feel fitter, my belly has gone down a bit too.

I know one of my clients was suprised that I am so honest in my blog writing about my personal health issues but goodness me if i can't write it here where can I? Women are so programmed to be silent about their problems especially if it's to do with their reproductive bits.. I am writing this so you know you can make changes and fairly quickly. The diet includes lots of alkalising drinks - lemon juice in water first thing in the morning - you can follow that up with apple cider vinegar too if you like. Plus plenty of green veg - I had seaweed in my stir fry yesterday! In addition to my normal supplement regime of Omega-3 and Vitamin D and a high quality multi-vit mineral (I like the brand Nutri-women) I am also taking DIM (di-indle methionine from cruciferous veg), Serrapeptase (from silkworkms), Ginkgo biloba (for energy), Agnus castus (good for hormonal issues), NAD (N-acetyl cysteine) to help liver detoxification, my thryroid gland concentrate, Choline and Inositol (for blood sugar control). Plus some drops of dandelion and milkthisle tincture, black cohosh and my vitamin drink Floradix. This is a heavy course of supplements but for 3 months, with the cleansing and liver packing and epsom salt footbaths it's doable. The goal is to lose a bit more weight, reduce my bloating and give me my power back. While I wait to hear when my appointment for a scan is - probably 6 weeks I have been told.

I got all of this off the website Though I then found the information much cheaper and on a UK site of Dr Marilyn Glenville I haven't downloaded this one yet but i will. At just under £8 (compared the the £30 I paid for the other one) it's a bargain. Probably linked to her supplements though..
The message is - you can make a change to yourself. you only have to know how.
I didn't understand fibroids at all - I thought it was just bad luck or genetics but I now see my lifestyle has been a big factor. I have upped my exercise and cut down my sugar intake as well as including lots of raw foods. It all helps. Anyhow will update again when I hear.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Women's problems

Well, life as they say happens while you're busy doing something else.
I have been very busy doing my studying (for hypnotherapy) and looking into treating Thyroid and Adrenal dysfunction which is going to be very useful for treating clients who come to me with unspecified depression, auto-immune dysfunction and chronic fatigue symptoms. In fact I was getting quite excited about my discoveries which I periodically publish on my Facebook health page; Patricia Worby Holistic Health.
Then to complete my marking of the end of winter (we hope shortly!) I went on a lovely spa package and spent some considerable time detoxing in a Far- Infra-Red Sauna (very different to steam saunas which I don't tolerate very well). I felt fabulous after that.

However a few days later I started to wonder if I was putting on weight again around my abdomen. I went to the docs last Friday and she had a prod around and confirmed what I thought; that despite having a successful embolisation procedure for fibroids two years ago, they have returned! I wasn't surprised but I was shocked. My diet is reasonably good, I exercise, I take supplements and I think, anyway that I am taking steps to conquer my anxiety (with hypnotherapy practice). However, I was very traumatised by the news - especially as it means I have to go through the rounds of scans and consultants again. Almost instantly my symptoms got much, much worse (as if my body is reading my mind). I had pain and swelling and felt exhausted. I now think that my organs of elimination (gut, skin, lungs, etc are too clogged to allow the detoxing that I did to be eliminated in the body and therefore they are reabsorbed and stored in a non-life-threatening organ - the uterus!). This is the body's way of trying to minismise the damage.. it is not trying to attack me.

However, given my new knowledge as to what causes fibroids (toxic build up, nutritional deficiencies and stress) I was determined to do it differently this time. I had been sent the link for a Naturopathic Doctor in the US, Dr Akilah El who specialises in healing fibroids I contacted them by email and was told I would need a copy of my latest scan if I was to have a consultation. Unfortunately my last one was a year ago so I need to get a current one to see what I'm up against. Her book and audio sound good but they are way expensive ($80 - around £52) so I carried on looking and came across another American Amanda Leto who has done something similar but hers was more realistic at $39 - approx £25 plus VAT. Why are there no UK people doing this. Fibroids are incredibly common (see a previous post - 30 - 40% of white women - especially amongst black women where up to to 70% have them - sometimes without symptoms)

I have now downloaded that e-book and read all of its 255 pages with accompanying diet plans and stress busting tips. It's pretty good - not properly proof-read which is odd (I always wonder why people let something go out with typos in given how quickly you can check it by eye - presumably checking with a spell checker is what they did as it hasn't identifed some problems because they are real words - just not the right one). It has some inaccuracies (chlorophyll is the 'blood life of every plant' apparently - I understand what she means it's just slightly misleading - chlorophyll is a molecule similar to haemoglobin in blood - but it does not circulate - it is fixed in the leaves to make sugars - photosynthesis). I am trying to work out whether i should point these errors out to her or just leave it alone - she is after all not a scientist and I may come over all pedantic.

Anyhow I am now following the advice given there withe the diet and supplements and intend to do the 3 day juice fast over Easter. This will be hard but given my condition I have a strong impetus. I am certainly hoping to see results faster than the NHS!! Actually already (day 2 of cutting out caffeine, gluten, soya) I feel better and my abdomen has gone down considerably. I can actually feel I am detoxing - plus my guts are very clearly cleaning out (TMI). It is amazing to me that just by cutting out obvious oestrogen triggers and allergens from my diet - plus drinking lemon water three times a day I have already managed to bring my symptoms down to manageable levels. I am thrilled in fact.

I will let you know how it goes. One thing is for sure. The alternative - more tests, hysterectomy (I am sure they won't offer me embolisation again as it didn't work) are not an option I want to take. I will if I have to but let's see if this naturopathic option works well. Certainly if initial results are anything to go by I am healing already.
p.s Have found Dr Marilyn Glenville in the UK has a downloadable e-book on the subject too. see
Hers is a lot cheaper at £7.93. May download that one too though expect it will heavily feature her products at the Natural Health Practice..