Stammering and Stuttering Hypnotherapy in Leeds

Hypnotherapy LeedsStammering and Stuttering Hypnotherapy in Leeds

I read an interesting article in the i newspaper last week (25/10/17) concerning stammering, which is one of many conditions that we treat here at Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic.
The piece was written by 21-year-old student Rory Sheridan who is himself someone with a stammer.
Rory has undergone therapy at the Michael Palin Centre for Stammering Children in London where, writes Rory, “the negative thoughts which I had about my stammer were turned into positive ones as I realised it wasn’t such a bad thing.”
He adds: “Everyone has their thing that they find difficult – speaking is mine.”
What Rory writes reflects a fundamental concept in the successful treatment of many conditions – an individual gaining the confidence and self-awareness to manage that particular condition. At Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic we help clients to change their perspectives where appropriate.

A fresh insight

The treatment Rory has received has provided him with a fresh insight. He says he now sees his condition differently and doesn’t allow stammering to hold him back.
“I apply for all the jobs and opportunities I want to.”
In the past that would have been beyond him – his anxiety over how others might perceive him had become debilitating.
Nowadays, if someone has a negative reaction, Rory regards that as their problem not his. And now that he has the confidence to acknowledge his stammer to himself and to others he finds that the vast majority of people react positively. And so his confidence increases.
Rory concludes by stating: “We are increasingly seeing and realising the many positives of what stammering gives to a person: empathy, patience, great listening skills, attention to detail and creativity. The list goes on. I try to see the positives where I can.”
Such words are heartening to me not only as a therapist but on a personal level too because as a child I also had a significant stammer.

Children and adults

People who stutter, as I did from an early age, do so to varying degrees and in various circumstances and while the condition is most common in children it often extends into adulthood. As the newspaper article indicates the condition can involve “blocking” – that being the inability on occasions to utter words or sometimes even any sound; “repetition” – that being repeating words or syllables time and time again before managing to move on to the next; “prolongation” – elongating the sound of words far longer than most speakers.
At school I had particular difficulty with words beginning with “D” which being named Danny was rather unfortunate. Even now some of my old pals still call me: D-d-d-Danny. And in essence it is how people react that eases or erodes an individual’s confidence. Sometimes a negative impact is unintentional – for example the well-meaning parent who adopts the habit of completing a child’s unfinished sentence; sometimes it is more malevolent, such as a bullying teacher who uses the child’s difficulty against the youngster to exert authority.

Rebuilding self-confidence

I learnt to control my own condition with the help of a kindly speech therapist and by building up my own self-confidence.
Self-confidence can be rebuilt.
In my own case I found strength from a young age in the boxing gym. (In fact, some of the best help and encouragement I received in life came from my boxing coaches Harry Pinkney and Kevin Cunningham, though I doubt if either of them ever regarded themselves as therapists.)
At Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic, you might be relieved to learn we don’t have a boxing ring.
We do build confidence though, helping clients to overcome anxieties related to various conditions. We also employ techniques specific to individual conditions – in the case of stammering, for example, a simple exercise is to teach a person not to close his or her eyes when speaking – they are often unaware that when stuttering their eyes will shut – by concentrating on keeping their eyes open the mind is distracted from their perceived speech difficulty.
This is just one simple technique among many others which we combine with cognitive behavioural therapy and clinical hypnosis for the benefit of clients.

The Marvels of Hypnotism

The Marvels of Hypnotism

The Marvels of HypnotismMy last Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic blog on the marvels of hypnotism seems to have touched a tender nerve with one or two fellow practitioners.
I suggested that by encouraging the notion that hypnotherapy is some kind of magical art, we invite misunderstanding and that misunderstanding challenges integrity.
A fuller explanation of my reasoning might be helpful; there are therapists who feel that an aspect of alchemy is a vital ingredient in the potency of hypnosis.
And though I have some sympathy with that sentiment, I sense it is restricting.
Confidence in the ability of a practitioner is an important element of successful treatment, to be sure – after all we are dealing with science of the mind and behaviour. Props and a sense of authority can therefore be useful tools in efficacy – a truth that is apparent all around us in the wider world: uniforms that announce a certain licence; cars that boast prestige; advertising that promotes exclusivity – the list is endless.
To a greater or lesser degree we are all subject to image and this moulds our behaviour and beliefs. And while bridling belief is a powerful phenomenon, hijacking beliefs, as on occasions exercised by some political and/or religious leaders, is controlling.
There is an important distinction, here – it is the difference between assistance and abuse.

Securing Confidence

It is widely acknowledged that the mind is a powerful healer and the positive effects of placebo treatment have long been accepted. For such treatment to be constructive, securing the confidence of a patient or client is essential and so it is useful, perhaps vital, that the practitioner, whether a medical doctor, therapist or nurse commands a level of esteem. To this day you will see doctors in hospital wearing stethoscopes around their necks – they are a mark of competence, yet are an instrument invented in 1816 as a tool for auscultation and their use has long been usurped by ultrasound and MRI scanners. But people still associate the stethoscope with medical proficiency and are suitably reassured. The patient’s treatment will most likely involve cutting edge technology and powerful pharmacy yet the humble stethoscope remains an emblem of trust.
So where does clinical hypnotherapy fit into all this.

Positive Perception

Well, I gladly acknowledge the benefits of what might be termed positive perception. I also acknowledge that adopting a level of “mystery” can work with some clients. At Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic, we receive some clients who are convinced the therapist has extraordinary powers, and therefore they will benefit from an unquestioning faith in treatment. Such a technique can be used to address a wide range of conditions and the positive effects largely negate criticism.
Yet, in my experience, such action works well on only a percentage of clients.
At Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic the preferred method of treatment is a personally adapted cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) designed by myself that is reinforced by clinical hypnosis.
We strip away the notion of ‘magical treatment’ and explain the client’s condition to him or her; in the vast majority of cases the client has misunderstood his or her condition.
In essence they have hypnotised themselves – and it is my job to “dehypnotise” them.
A common comment is: “Daniel, I think my problem is that I overthink matters and get obsessed and anxious.”
My response is: “No – you don’t think too much, you just think inaccurately.”

That ‘lightbulb’ moment

This might seem blunt, arrogant even, but as my explanation continues there is often a “lightbulb” moment when the client grasps the concept.
They recognise they have trapped themselves in a cycle of stress – and put simply, they have over time become anxious about being anxious.
They have harboured a fear of being afraid, to the extent in some cases that they have propagated within themselves what is termed panic disorder.
The hypnosis treatment that follows an adapted CBT integrates into the unconscious the clients newly-gained insight of their condition. It allows the client to draw on inner strength and comprehension whenever necessary in the future.
While this treatment demands skill on the part of the hypnotherapist, it is not magic.
It might be asked: “But how does the unconscious work?”
Ha. And so we arrive at the true mystery: while we are able to observe manifestations of unconscious and bring influence to bear, the profound workings of the mind remain largely unexplained by science.
As we strive to discover the secrets of the mind it becomes apparent there is still more to learn than we might ever have imagined.
And so the great mystery prevails.

Misconceptions Concerning Hypnotherapy

Misconceptions Concerning Hypnotherapy

The primary focus of Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic is to help people overcome psychological issues and improve their overall wellbeing.
Here at Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic we treat clients using a form of cognitive behavioural therapy reinforced by cognitive clinical hypnosis. And we are pleased that the benefits of our treatment are so effective.
Nowadays, the efficacy of properly administered clinical hypnotherapy is widely recognised – so much so, that it is a surprise to be reminded on occasions that in some circles hypnotherapy is still regarded as a kind of mystical art. It is ranked by some people alongside dubious alternative medicines and even criticised by a few as being little more than a scam.
Without a doubt, it is a sad fact that hypnotherapy is sometimes a misunderstood science.
And misunderstandings arise for a number of reasons, the main one, I would suggest, being misrepresentation.
So, who or what are the sources of misrepresentation?

I’m NOT a Wizard

Well, therapists themselves might share some of the blame. We are sometimes guilty of encouraging the idea that hypnosis is a magical skill (though, it can be argued that such a notion does support the placebo effect). I can’t myself claim to be wholly innocent in such matters – as it was pointed out to me recently, the original cover of my book Stop Smoking: It’s a Doddle depicts me in something of a wizardy pose. Hmmph. Well, quickly brushing that aside to spare my blushes, it might be added that misconceptions concerning clinical hypnosis also arise through another source, that being the general public’s familiarity with stage hypnotism; most people have witnessed stage hypnotism to some extent, whether it be in a pub, at a theatre or on TV. But as I have stated before, stage hypnotism and clinical hypnotherapy are distinct from one another – the former is entertainment (and is not really hypnosis) while the latter is a means of treating people afflicted by conditions that adversely affect their lives. I’m not trying to disparage stage hypnotism but merely pointing out that it is entertainment and shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

They’re Having a Laugh

I was reminded of one further source of misunderstanding regarding clinical hypnotherapy earlier this week – it was casual in its nature but not necessarily insignificant. It occurred as I watched a BBC comedy series entitled Ill Behaviour. The show is about a man who is suffering Hodgkin lymphoma but rather than follow conventional treatment that boasts a proven success rate he opts for alternative treatment – including something called “isomorphic hypnotherapy” – whatever that might be. That the therapy named is most probably something invented by the screen writer doesn’t mean that some people are not going to think the character is talking about clinical hypnotherapy. And to that extent he does the practice of clinical hypnotherapy a disservice. It’s hardly a massive deal but I’m happy to leap to the defence of the industry and state, in case there is any doubt, that no reputable clinical hypnotherapist is ever going to claim he or she has a cure for cancer.
Sometimes, though, psychological issues overlap with physical complaints – for example anxiety often creates physiological symptoms.
But at Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic any client who arrives with a physical disorder is politely told to consult his or her GP. For example, it might be that someone who suffers frequent headaches does so as a result of stress and anxiety but before any psychological treatment can be offered it needs to be established that the symptoms are not a consequence of some as yet undiagnosed physical condition. (Details of the ethics adopted at the clinic are to be found on this website.)

Other Scenarios That Hypnotherapy Can Help With

There are other scenarios too. For example in cases of self-harm or self-mutilation, clinical hypnosis can help a sufferer cope with the underlying emotional issues of the condition but the physical wounds and injuries will need to be treated in a surgery.
Of course, cognitive behavioural therapy, which at Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic is supported by clinical hypnosis, is a useful tool in helping people with physical illnesses cope with their condition by addressing their associated emotional needs. Mental wellbeing is also recognised as being of great benefit in physical healing.
To sum up, then, while it is important that a professional distinction be made between the psychological and the physiological and that it is essential parameters of treatment are applied, it is useful too to recognise that the two matters are not always mutually exclusive.