Blog

Starting early for success

Come the spring and summertime, parents and students start to worry about exams. It’s no wonder, with so much pressure and outcomes riding on results. But a lot of that pressure can be alleviated if we start planning ahead.

Rather than panicking in May, it makes sense to think about developing the skills and attitudes needed for good performance a few months ahead of time. This will enable the young person to build up their habits and approach for exam success.

A lot of exam performance comes from confidence. The confidence that they know the content, the confidence that they can answer the questions, and the confidence that they can do their best. Being assured that they have the ability to do well will help them in the revision period and the exam room.

Having a mantra or phrase that they repeat to themselves can help remind them of their ability. It can be something as simple as ‘I can do this’ or ‘I am capable.’ This can help keep them calm and focused. If they find themselves becoming distressed, they can come back to the phrase.

Practice makes perfect, so having some sample tests or doing homework under exam conditions is a good way to enable children to get a sense of what they will be doing, and help them feel more comfortable with the situation. When circumstances are familiar, they produce less stress, which will help with performance.

Breaking down workload into manageable chunks stops it from being overwhelming. The earlier you are able to make this a habit, the better your child will be prepared. Rather than rushing to cram at the end of the year before the exam, they will have been adding to their knowledge bit by bit throughout the year.

Starting early is key to performing well. It is all about instilling the right approach and mindset before the exam period starts. That way lies success.

If you want to know more about my work with children and teenagers head to the Helping Kids UK website.

Keep listening

At the end of every Rapid Transformational Therapy session I devote some time to creating a recording of the key words and phrases that have been explored in the previous hour. Usually, the focus will be on a sentence or two that represents the positive place that the client wishes to get to. For someone with self esteem issues, the phrase might be ‘I am enough.’ An individual struggling with eating good food and moving their body might focus on the phrase ‘I am healthy.’ This, combined with a guided narrative to bring the client to a state of REM and take them to their subconscious, forms a short recording to be listened to every day for the next three weeks.

This is an important part of the process, and not to be missed. Life happens; there are jobs to be done, family to look after, and tasks to take care of. But if you really want to see transformation in your life, you have to put in the work.

In Rapid Transformational Therapy the bulk of the work takes place in the main session. But this does not mean that it is an instant cure. You have to remind yourself of where you want to go, and keep taking the steps to get there. The recording acts as that reminder, sparking off the connections in the brain repeatedly, and reinforcing the message that you want and need to hear.

Changing your life, or an aspect of it, requires effort and practice. RTT kicks off that process, but there’s still work to be done. The message that you want to become part of your life needs to be reinforced and reheard, slowly infiltrating your mind until it becomes the norm. It’s like flexing a muscle or stretching the limbs – the more you do it, the easier it becomes.

You need to hear the words that will help you, and you need to hear them often enough that they become part of your everyday experience. Little reminders keep you focused and keep you en route to where you want to get to.

Keep listening. Keep hearing. Keep going.

 

20 Jun 2018
Is it just a phase?

When our children start behaving differently, it can cause concern. They might be snappier, be spending more time in their bedroom, or have trouble sleeping. Children who are usually well behaved might start being naughty, or school grades begin to slip. As parents, we worry about these things. The child we know and the behaviour we are familiar with is changing, and we don’t know why.

Well meaning friends and family might attempt to ease your fears, saying things like ‘it’s just a phase’ or ‘he will grow out of it.’ Often they are right, and whilst most young people can overcome difficulties, sometimes they spiral into something bigger and more worrying.

So how do you know if it is just a phase, or if it’s time to take action? And what should you do about it?

Notice what’s normal

It’s really important to be familiar with what is normal for the child or young person in question. Unless you know what is usual, you can’t be aware of what is unusual. So noticing your child and paying attention to them, even when there’s nothing to worry about, is crucial to be able to address situations that do require worrying.

Pick up patterns

If something happens once or twice, it’s probably not a big issue. Problems come when a negative behaviour or action becomes a recurring pattern. Not only is it more damaging to every day life, the more we do something, the more ingrained it becomes, and so the habit is harder to get out of. If you notice something becoming more regular than irregular, and it’s having a detrimental effect on your child’s or family’s life, it’s time to take action.

Talk together

Speak to your young person. If you’re worried about your child or teenager, it’s important to connect and communicate with them. This isn’t about nagging or shouting, but engaging in a proper conversation, listening and speaking equally. How much you say and what you talk about obviously depends on the age and maturity of your child. What’s important is that you speak in a caring way, let them know that they can trust you, and listen to their answers.

Intervene gently

If you are worried about your child or teenager, it’s your job as a parent to do something about it. However, it’s important that you don’t inflame the situation any more by causing arguments or creating drama unnecessarily. Choose a time when you won’t be interrupted, sit down with them, and state your worries. Let them know that your worry comes from a place of love and concern, and that you are there to help them.

Have a plan

Even if you don’t know what to do or how to solve a situation, you have to instil confidence in your young person. Have some kind of plan, even if it’s just a case of sitting down each week together to have a chat about how things are going.

I support families by working with children, young people, and parents to develop the skills and tools to thrive in family life. If you would like to know more, please get in touch.

 

 

 

01 May 2018
Exam stress

Ah, summer. Bright days and long evenings. Whilst we often have nostalgia for the summers of childhood, the reality is that for many children the summer triggers stress and anxiety. Why? Because it also brings exams. Whether it’s SATs, entrance exams, GCSEs, A levels, or end of year tests, throughout May and June our young people will be being assessed. And many of them will be concerned about how well they will do, stressed about revision, and panicking about results.

It’s no wonder they get worried. Whether it’s getting into a school or university of choice, or just feeling like you’ve made the grade and done your best for the year, there can be a lot riding on them. It’s easy to get overwhelmed.

As a parent, you can help make this time easier. Provide a space for them to revise in and a routine to follow. But make sure there’s time for play and rest too. It doesn’t help to be working at all hours. So plenty of breaks and time to relax, ideally as a family so that they know you are there for them, are necessary and important.

Keep talking. Connection and communication are crucial to healthy family relationships. If young people feel they can’t talk to their parents, they may become more tense and anxious. And talk to your children about things other than exams. Don’t ignore the fact that they are happening, but don’t make them the only focus of your child’s life.

Support your children to do their best – even if that doesn’t mean being the best. An ‘A’ for effort is more important than a 100% pass rate. It’s crucial that, while recognising the importance of the exams and tests, that we don’t put additional pressure on our children. Let them know that the result of this assessment doesn’t define who they are. They are still the same person, with the same wonderful qualities and personality. They are still good enough.

With the right balance of hard work and important rest, communication and support, all children have the opportunity to do their very best this exam period.

And enjoy a well earned break in the summer. Let’s help them to enjoy it.

If you want to know more about how I can help you and your child, get in touch.

01 Apr 2018
Smart questions

People often come to me seeking to change their life. They know that they want things to be different, and seek a coach to help them. The thing is, life is always changing. In every moment. We can’t stop it. What we can do is harness the flow of change, and make it work for us.

But to do this, we have to ask the right questions. And these questions must be specific.

Rather than asking ‘can I change my life’ or ‘can my life be different’ we should be asking ‘how can I change my life’ and ‘what can be different about my life?’ Getting specific allows us to set goals and take key actions towards achieving them. Setting specific, measurable targets that you can take action against and review against tangible measures (SMART goals) has been shown to be the key to achieving them.

To start making goals, we have to ask the right questions. And we have to start where we are. I ask my clients what it is about their lives that they are struggling with. Is it work, health, or family issues? Having got clear about what’s not going so well, I ask them to get specific about what they do want. Is it to get a promotion, run their first 5k, or spend more time with their kids. Then we get even more detailed. They know what they want to change, but what is in their power to change? They might not be able to give themselves a promotion, but maybe they can speak up in a monthly meeting. Or go for a walk three times a week, or leave work on time, depending on their goal.

Only by getting detailed and asking focused questions of ourselves are we able to get to the root of what we want to change, and understand how to do it. Clients then feel much more confident in their abilities to make a change. Rather than a big, amorphous and vague undertaking, changing your life becomes something that can be broken down into manageable steps.

By asking the right questions, questions that really get at the heart of what it is that we want to know, we can work out what action we can take. Ask smart questions, and change your life.

If you want to know more about how I can help you, get in touch.

10 Mar 2018
Change

Change is at the heart of my work. Whether it’s supporting children in schools or addressing an issue that an adult comes to me with, there is always change. After working with an individual, things are different to when we first began.

Sometimes it’s a life altering change, such as a phobia or fear no longer being a problem. Sometimes it’s smaller, like a child not needing to be asked to do their homework. It might be something practical, like deciding to change your job, or something less tangible, like a sense of wellbeing. But always, there is change.

But change is hard. Many of us fear it. Even when we dislike our current situation, we are reluctant to change it. Even when we despartely yearn for a certain outcome, it can be hard to make the changes to get there. We are all wired to prefer the status quo. It’s easier. It feels safer. We can at least deal with something we know, whereas the unfamiliar is a world that we do not yet have the capacity to understand. Better the devil you know and all that.

But change is not something to be feared. Growth and development are changes. We are all changing, every day, with everything that we learn. Change is essential to progress. It’s what makes us better people who live better lives.

Hypnotherapy and coaching does not make people change in and of itself. They have to want to do it. Deep down everyone that I work with does want to change in some way. Or they would not even bother turning up to sessions. What I do is tap into that desire, and bring it from the subconscious to the conscious, making it a real need that must be met.

If there’s even an inkling that you could do with some change in your life, coaching is for you. If there’s a sense that things could be different, hypnotherapy can help. If you want a better life, I believe that you can get there. Sometimes we just need a little help.

Change is at the heart of my work. Whether it’s supporting children in schools or addressing an issue that an adult comes to me with, there is always change. After working with an individual, things are different to when we first began.

Sometimes it’s a life altering change, such as a phobia or fear no longer being a problem. Sometimes it’s smaller, like a child not needing to be asked to do their homework. It might be something practical, like deciding to change your job, or something less tangible, like a sense of wellbeing. But always, there is change.

But change is hard. Many of us fear it. Even when we dislike our current situation, we are reluctant to change it. Even when we despartely yearn for a certain outcome, it can be hard to make the changes to get there. We are all wired to prefer the status quo. It’s easier. It feels safer. We can at least deal with something we know, whereas the unfamiliar is a world that we do not yet have the capacity to understand. Better the devil you know and all that.

But change is not something to be feared. Growth and development are changes. We are all changing, every day, with everything that we learn. Change is essential to progress. It’s what makes us better people who live better lives.

Hypnotherapy and coaching does not make people change in and of itself. They have to want to do it. Deep down everyone that I work with does want to change in some way. Or they would not even bother turning up to sessions. What I do is tap into that desire, and bring it from the subconscious to the conscious, making it a real need that must be met.

If there’s even an inkling that you could do with some change in your life, coaching is for you. If there’s a sense that things could be different, hypnotherapy can help. If you want a better life, I believe that you can get there. Sometimes we just need a little help.

17 Feb 2018
Does hypnotherapy work for weight loss?

Many of the people who contact me at my practice in West London about hypnotherapy want to know one thing – ‘does hypnotherapy work?’ One question I get asked a lot is ‘does hypnotherapy work for weight loss?’

Obviously, my answer is ‘yes.’ I would not be offer Rapid Transformational Therapy if it didn’t help. But in my free phone consultation and the hypnotherapy session I ask more questions. Questions that help us to understand what ‘working’ means for the client.

When seeking help with an issue we often look at what is wrong, rather than what is right. But considering how we want our lives to be is more effective. Hypnotherapy isn’t about ‘fixing’ a problem, but about empowering someone to live in the way that they want to.

For example, rather than thinking about whether hypnotherapy can help weight management (a term I prefer to weight loss), it’s important to think about hypnotherapy can support someone to make good choices to live a healthy lifestyle. That might be about eating different foods, or moving their body more. It might be more about having a different relationship to food and movement. One session of hypnotherapy will not make you automatically drop twenty pounds. But it can help you change your attitudes and behaviours so that you can achieve that goal, or whatever goal you have.

Your attitude to food and eating are the most important factors when it comes to weight. Many of these attitudes and beliefs are formed early on, and reaffirmed through life. You might believe that you are only worthy of certain foods, or that a particular body shape is better than another. These beliefs influence how you behave.

That’s where hypnotherapy helps. Under hypnosis, when we are working with the subconscious, you can form fresh perspectives on what, why and how you eat. When you better understand the role of food in your life, you can change it, and that change is what will help with your weight. The goal of hypnotherapy is to readjust how you relate to food and weight.

There is research to support the use of hypnosis for weight loss. Some studies found that people who used hypnosis lost more than twice as much weight as those who dieted without the therapy. A study in International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis found women who underwent hypnosis alongside cognitive behavioral therapy lost weight and improved their eating habits, as well as their body image. A controlled trial on the use of hypnotherapy, as an adjunct to dietary advice in producing weight loss, shows that hypnotherapy helps. Marisa Peer has shared numerous case studies of the value of Rapid Transformational Therapy for weight loss and weight management. You can read here about how I helped this lady find freedom from her food issues.

So, does hypnotherapy work for weight management? Yes. Because hypnotherapy allows you to change your attitudes and beliefs about food and weight, which in turn influences the way you eat and move.

If you would like to know more about using hypnotherapy for weight management and food issues, get in touch.

29 Jan 2018
Storytelling for life

This week is National Storytelling Week.

Stories are sometimes thought of as frivolous and childish, things we leave behind us as adults. But actually, whatever age we are, stories matter.

We all tell stories about ourselves and the world we live in. We might tell ourselves that we are happy and friendly, or lazy and rubbish. Both are stories.

When someone ignores us, we tell ourselves that they are mean people, or that they don’t like us, or that they simply didn’t see us. All are stories.

When we miss our yoga class we could tell ourselves that we needed to just relax tonight, or that we are bad and will never get better. Again, different stories.

What is clear is that depending on the story, the reaction we have to it will be very different. It will influence how we feel about ourselves and how we behave in the world. The more we tell a story the more it becomes part of an ingrained way of being. If you tell anyone – child, or adult – something, anything, repeatedly, they will believe it.

Many of the problems that people struggle with in their lives are rooted in the stories that they tell themselves. Those stories are often ones that have messages such as ‘I’m not good enough’ or ‘I’m a failure.’ My work is about changing those stories, and in the process, helping people to change their lives. It’s not easy. Those phrases and words have often been spoken repeatedly over many years, and feel such a natural way of being. But it is possible. Changing your story really can help you change your life.

You might never feel ready. Or ‘sitting comfortably.’ But if you want something new, it’s time to begin.

15 Jan 2018
Logical Levels of Change – Free e-course

If you want to get somewhere, you’ll need a map. If you want to change something in your life, you’ll need a strategy. This free e-course is designed to help you to work out yours.

The Logical Levels of Change framework is used in NLP as a tool to help individuals reflect on where they are and work out how to get to where they want to be.

Each week you will be sent information and activities to enable you to use the Logical Levels of Change in your own life, and support you to bring about positive change and move forward.

The six levels are:

  • Environment
  • Behaviour
  • Capabilities
  • Beliefs and values
  • Identity
  • Purpose

By the end of the course you will familiar with the Logical Levels of Change, have the tools to use the levels yourself, and feel empowered to make change in their lives.

You’ll also be entitled to a 10% discount on your first coaching session!

If you want to take part in this free course and learn how the Logical Levels of Change can change your life, click here to sign up.

 

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03 Jan 2018
Five lessons of 2017

2018 is here and we are full of excitement about the future. This is a good time to reflect on the last few months. In the day to day running of things, it can be easy to let things pass us by. It’s only when we stop and take notice that we realise what has changed, what has gone well, and what we’ve learned. Here are five things, from different aspects of my life, that I have learned in 2017.

1) We have done well so far.

When I look at my daughters I can’t avoid but feel pride. Of course, my wife and I disagree, but despite this, we have managed to have a very few but fundamental ideas to rule our parenting. We have both used them as our guide, taking turns in implementing, sharing and embracing them with our daughters. Our three key words are respect, fun, and self-reliance. We don’t fully practice them every day. Sometimes we get them totally wrong. But what is important is the intention. We try to implement these words in everything we do.

2) Things change

As our daughters grow (Sofia is almost 13 and Ana is 11), the conversations are very different. They are changing, and, like it or not, we need to change with them. The conversations are deeper and more challenging. We are constantly reminding ourselves of what is right or wrong. We have to consider when to say yes and when to say no. We have to trust them to make their own decisions. My role as a dad has fundamentally changed and I have to find my new role in a way that satisfies their needs and mine, as well as our concept of family.

3) Take care of the small stuff

On September 24th I collapsed 100 metres from the end of the Ealing Half Marathon. I spent thirty minutes out and then the best part of three hours in pain and cold. And, if I’m being honest, I was very worried. Although I think Silvia (my wife) was much more worried than me. I had trained for almost four months but the days before the event, I totally forgot to think about my nutrition. Work and life took over and I completely forgot to eat properly. I was running on empty. I’d been training hard, but forgotten to eat. I forgot the small stuff. This is a lesson I take not only for future runs, but for my life as a person, a family man and a professional.

4) I know what I am talking about and I am not afraid of saying so.

Throughout the year I had the opportunity to talk with teachers, parents, mentors and educators. I have things to share with them. I am knowledgeable. And I’m confident that I can help people. I love when parents tell me: “I never thought about that, and it makes sense” or “We have tried what you told us and it’s working.” It proves that I know what I am doing. After five years studying for my degree and 18 years of corporate work, I don’t think I ever said that. Now I am proud of doing so.

5- Learning comes in all shapes, forms and moments. Just keep an eye for it.

Some of the biggest discoveries I have had have happened when I’ve been trying to help someone and managed to explain what they might be experiencing in a way that makes sense (I will leave the Dead Rat analogy for another time). When it happens, it’s magic. Every one of those situations helped me and helped a lot of other people understand what they are experiencing, and articulate it in a way that helps them. As my business grows, I am conscious I will have to make significant changes and I will learn new things. I have no idea what they are, when I will find them or if they will work. I just know that they will happen.