If life is ticking along nicely, then thinking about seeing a therapist, is probably not even on your radar, why should it be? Well, one reason could be that therapy is not always about fixing problems or issues, sometimes it's about making a good life even better! That said, that rarely is the reason a client makes an appointment to see a therapist. So, making a good life better is most usually the phase that follows the completion of a successful therapy! Because of that, this article will focus on the main types of reasons that clients come to see me. The larger portion of my clients come looking for a solution to things like anxiety, stress, depression or low self-esteem and even in clients who come for other reasons, e.g. confidence, public speaking, a phobia, to stop smoking, insomnia or a relationship issue; anxiety or stress are usually a factor at some level. As a generality, I always on the lookout for signs of anxiety or stress, as well as symptoms of mood fluctuations or depression. The reason for this is both logical and rational, it is because these conditions impair the way the brain functions and in order to address any underlying condition, one must first do all they can to normalise brain's functionality. This is exactly what doctors attempt to do with medication. However, they do it in the hope that if normal brain function is restored, then everything else will fall in line! Experientially, I have found that to rarely be the case, therefore, therapy aims to address the underlying issues that caused the dysfunctionality!
This is often where psycho-therapeutic interventions and the medical model diverge. When working with psychological issues, the client's memory (both conscious and subconscious) of their history plays an important role. However, it is not uncommon for their recollection of the past to be sketchy, although occasionally, you will have a client who can reel off the story of their life, like they were reading it from a journal. When it comes to the types of memories that develop into a life issue, many of these are formed when we are very young and more often than not, they are stored in emotional memory systems as implicit (non-declarative) memories. This type of memory often forms outside of conscious awareness and neither requires your attention or permission to become active. A good example of this can be seen in someone with a spider phobia (arachnophobia). Logically speaking they almost always know that a spider won't hurt them and even though in some countries they will hurt you, even then, few people have that phobia., So, if they know this logically, rationally and analytically, then obviously, they should be able to eradicate the phobic response, right? No, is the right answer and the reason is that the fear of spiders is part of the implicit emotional memory system which operates outside of conscious logical processing. Many of the issues that my clients face are a consequence of this type of emotional memory and sometimes the memory can have a latency that makes it dormant for many years. The reason for this is often a consequence of the memory being stored/learned at a young age but without context. At some point in life, that old memory is recalled and gains context and from there, an issue develops. To give this some context, I have had many clients present with a fear of flying but flying was not the problem, it was merely an experience which triggers an emotional response and I have effected a cure without even the mention of anything to do with aviation!
The most effective type of therapy I provide, to bring about the resolution of the above life issues, is hypnotherapy, although I have developed my own unique way of delivering hypnotherapeutic interventions, which I call Trans4mational Therapy! Although, generally speaking, hypnotherapy would be better described as Hypnosis-Therapy because it is a two-part process, part 1 being hypnosis and part 2 psychotherapy, i.e. the introduction of a psychotherapeutic intervention through the medium of hypnosis. Hypnosis occurs, I believe when the brain is in specific brainwave states, e.g. theta brainwave states, akin to sleep states (and you can read more about that here). It is in these sleep states that the brain consolidates and reconsolidates memory and since all human difficulty or trauma is a consequence of the activation of emotional memory or the enactment of a specific response to novel stimuli which in some way is based on an evaluation of a past memory. A lot of people, including some hypnotherapists, seem to believe that if you merely close your eyes and think or visualise something, that you are in hypnosis, I disagree with that view. However, I go into that in much more detail in the link above.
So, therapy can be seen as any method of therapeutic intervention that brings about a change in brain function that can be observed personally through introspection and externally by observation, be that by self-awareness or a third party. Thus therapy creates a change in feeling, thought and behaviour. Ultimately that brings about a feeling of life being more peaceful, pleasant and purposeful!
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