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The dangers of Vaping | Hypnotherapy Leeds

Vaping HypnotherapyThe dangers of vaping

So vaping’s not so safe after all, we’re now being told. Well,  here at Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic , we’ve never advocated the use of tobacco substitutes as a means to quitting.

The main reason is that such products, and that includes e-cigs, help perpetuate the myth that smoking is primarily a physical addiction rather than a psychological issue.

Nicotine gum, patches and more recently vaping, all maintain the fallacy that quitting cigarettes is going to be hell.

Successful treatment using hypnotherapy

But that’s nonsense. I’ve successfully treated hundreds of smokers using hypnotherapy and I start by explaining to them that what they regard as their physical addiction is their minds playing tricks. They mistake the fear they feel at giving up as being withdrawal symptoms. But this anxiety is a conditioned response. Their conditioning has been reinforced over the years, not least by the marketing of tobacco substitute products, including e-cigarettes.

But surely, many people insist, vaping is safer than smoking.  I don’t disagree; yes it is – but it’s a bit like saying boxing is safer than being a Roman gladiator and then being surprised when your nose gets bust in the ring.

Just because smoking is so life-threatening and debilitating and vaping somewhat less so, doesn’t equate to vaping being safe.

And now we’re being informed that e-cigs are actually worse for you than has been generally assumed.

New statistics

New research reveals that adults who vape are 56% more at risk of a heart attack and more prone to coronary artery disease and depression compared to non-users. They are also 30% more likely to have a stroke than non-users.

Mohinder Vindhyal, Assistant professor at the University of Kansas School of Medicine who led the research using data from more than 96,000 people is quoted as saying: “This is a real wake-up call and should prompt more action and awareness about the dangers of e-cigarettes.”

The conclusion is clear: given a choice between smoking, vaping or quitting the only safe option is to stop.

New research into psychology of smoking

New research into psychology of smoking

At Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic our principal tenet in successfully treating smokers wanting to quit is explaining how their ‘addiction’ is  a psychological issue rather than being a physical craving for nicotine.

But this is not a popular view accepted by the world at large. Some people  find it a difficult concept to accept, mostly because the notion that smoking is physically addictive has become deeply embedded in the human psyche.

So it’s pleasing to be able to cite some professional research that supports my insistence that smoking addiction is “in the mind.”  

The latest findings come from a new study by Israeli scientists.

Dr Reuven Dar of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Psychology says that the psychological element of smoking is the key factor in convincing a person they are addicted.

In his study, published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Dr Dar writes “These findings might not be popular with advocates of the nicotine addiction theory, because they undermine the physiological role of nicotine and emphasize mind over matter when it comes to smoking.”

No smoking on air flights

In the study, researchers monitored the craving levels of in-flight male and female attendants, all of them smokers, during two flights, when they couldn’t have a cigarette. The attendants worked for Israeli airline El Al and were monitored on a l0- to 13-hour flight from Tel Aviv to New York and a two-stop shorter trip from Israel to Europe and back – each leg lasting three to five hours.

The team studied responses of the staff to a questionnaire. They found towards the end of each short flight, craving levels were much higher than those at the end of the long flight, which was presented as evidence that  cravings are triggered by anticipation rather than nicotine deprivation. 

At Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic we explain to clients that the role played by nicotine in smoking ‘addiction’ is minimal and its presence short-lived – any short-lived physiological can be negated through hypnosis and by short-lived we are talking no more than an or hour or two. 

Self-fulfilling prophecy

We explain to clients that what they perceive to be cravings, thereafter, are in fact anxieties triggered by expectations. In other words the craving is an anxiety about becoming anxious. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

Nevertheless, the popular belief persists, despite being an example of  inaccurate thinking. 

As philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote: “The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that is not utterly absurd.”

It is a quote that can be applied to many aspects of life.

You can find out more about smoking cessation in my book, Stop Smoking: It’s a Doddle, available free to download on this website.

Super-size Models | Hypnotherapy Leeds

Weight Loss Hypnotherapy LeedsSuper-size Model

Hypnotherapy Leeds

A letter in the ‘New Scientist’ magazine caught my eye this week because of its relevance to the weight-loss treatment I offer at Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic.

The letter mentioned American super-size model Tess Holliday who describes herself as a body positive activist.

Her Wikipedia profile says Tess embraces the word ‘fat’ and advocates that people should be able to eat as much as they want without suffering social ostracism.

I couldn’t agree more with Tess’s insistence that people shouldn’t be subject to mockery or exclusion because of their size. Of course not – no-one deserves to be bullied.

But whether or not an individual is happy with being overweight is another matter.

Confidence credo

Yet I admire Tessa’s body confidence credo – part of treatment at Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic involves teaching people how to ‘own’ their personal characteristics and not be troubled by the prejudiced opinions of others. Treatment at Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic is always non-judgmental no matter what condition or disorder is being treated.

You might wonder, though, that if I agree with Tessa’s sentiment, am I not being contradictory or even hypocritical by suggesting fat people should lose weight?

My answer is no – I’m not. I’m not because while I applaud people embracing mental well-being, I also care about people’s physical well-being. The two are not distinct. Psychological issues and physical issues are often intertwined.

And put simply, the hard truth is that being fat is not good for physical health even if it can be made to seem glamorous.

That brings me back to the letter in the ‘New Scientist’. It is from a Ms Christine Rogers of London responding to a previous article in the magazine on ‘fat acceptance.’

Everyday tasks

Ms Rogers writes that she is aged 79 and overweight, having risen from 7.5 stone (48 kg) in her 20s to 75kg today. At one stage she weighed 90kg. She points out that Tessa Holliday is aged only 33 and seemingly capable of coping with her excess weight. However, Ms Rogers warns that the model is storing up trouble for the future. She doesn’t mention the obvious medical problems of heart disease and diabetes in her letter but focuses instead on less glaring difficulties that emerge with age such as the painting or cutting or toenails, getting in or out of a bath or into public transport seats – everyday tasks made more problematic by being overweight. Seemingly trivial tasks that in youth are simple enough become more onerous with age, particularly so if one in fat, she says.

Ultimately, though, being overweight is a lifestyle choice. No-one needs to be fat.

Taking responsibility at Leeds Hypnotherapy

I teach clients who come to see me at Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic that losing weight needn’t be a chore. It can actually be fun. It is about taking responsibility and being the person you want to be.

If you choose to be fat now and in the future, you are entitled to that choice, (though that decision impacts on the lives of others close to you.)

Unlike super-size model Tess, it’s unlikely that you’re ever going to turn being overweight into a profitable business plan.

But be happy, whatever your size.

Be aware, though, that being fat is never going to be the healthy preference.

What happens in a hypnotherapy session?

Hypnotherapist Daniel McDermid | What happens in a hypnotherapy session?What happens in a hypnotherapy session?

Hypnosis at Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic

In the second of a series of articles for the Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic website, I’m going to respond to another question that I’m often asked: “What happens in a hypnotherapy session?”

People are intrigued to know just what happens in a hypnotherapy session and understandably first-time clients might even be a little apprehensive about the process. I wish to reassure them.

Hypnotherapy and Stage hyposis

Any apprehension might arise because of associations people have made between hypnotherapy and stage hypnotism. But as I never tire of pointing out: the two things are different. So, let’s not be confused. Stage hypnotism is a show – a performance intended to entertain and isn’t really hypnotism at all – it’s mind manipulation. That’s not to say it isn’t clever but it is showmanship not therapy. Hypnotherapy, on the other hand, uses hypnosis as a means of integrating rational understanding into a client’s unconscious. It is an ethical practice that helps address a multitude of conditions or disorders yet the client remains in control at all times – even during trance. The benefits and efficacy of properly administered hypnotherapy is widely acknowledged by medical professionals both in the UK and around the globe.

Rational understanding

The “rational understanding” just mentioned, itself needs to be explained, of course. And at Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic I first of all chat with a client, which helps put him or her at ease and allows me to understand their condition. After preliminary pleasantries, I will then explain to the client what I mean by the phrase rational understanding.
First of all, I should state that I can only speak for how treatment is administered at Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic. I use techniques that I have developed over the years, which I have been teaching to other practitioners around the country and abroad and which I know work. Some of the techniques I employ will be different from those used by other hypnotherapists, though there are basic principles to which all trained practitioners might be expected to adhere.
The first task of the therapist is to ascertain what condition it is that troubles the client.

Anxiety fears

Quite often, a client will misinterpret his or her condition. For example, someone with a phobia, say a fear of spiders, believes that even thinking of spiders scares them or makes them anxious. In reality they have a conditioned fear (they’ve hypnotised themselves, if you like, into being scared of spiders). But it is not actually the spider that makes them anxious – that is just what they believe – it is a pre-existing anxiety that makes them blame the spider. In other words they are anxious about being anxious. They are scared of being scared. It isn’t always the easiest concept to grasp but using cognitive behavioural therapy, we get there. And we exchange what are called unhealthy negative emotions for healthy negative emotions.

Emotional coaching

What happens in a hypnotherapy session at Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic? This is what I call emotional coaching and it is about teaching clients to understand their feelings, emotions and thoughts – it teaches them the difference between demands and preferences. It teaches them about psychological perception. It teaches them to think accurately. It teaches them to think and act rationally. After all, we know that in the UK, at least, spiders can’t actually harm us.

Once an understanding is established and a client understands what it is I’m talking about, we can proceed to the next stage. (Grasping the concepts is usually easier face-to-face during a session than it is reading about them. At my clinic in Leeds, I can tell if someone understands what I am explaining and if not, I will approach it from a different angle or use another example.) What happens in a hypnotherapy session?

Hypnosis explained

After the emotional coaching part of the session, we move on to inducing trance. I always explain what this entails so that the client knows what to expect before, during and after hypnosis. There are different approaches to inducing trance. Some practitioners will use a rapid approach while others (the majority) will ease their client into a focused, meditative state. What happens in a hypnotherapy session at Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic is admittedly slightly different to what clients would receive at different organisation.

Inducing hypnotic trance

The most common technique is to use body relaxation – the therapist talks to the client, asking them to focus on different parts of their body, usually from the toes up and to feel each section of their body slowly relax, leading eventually to a tranquil state where the client’s conscious is still aware of what the hypnotherapist is saying. There is nothing to fear and the feeling is soothing.

Deepening a hypnotic trance

The hypnotherapist may then count down from 10 to 1, gradually deepening the trance. Once a client is in a focused state, I will begin to make suggestions that have been agreed upon with the client during the earlier part of the consultation.

Hypno- therapy

As the unconscious mind opens, I am able to integrate the principles learnt during our emotional coaching and the client, accepting the benefits of healthy beliefs chooses to adopt them. He or she will be enjoying their trance state and already feeling a sense of revelation about their new-found comprehension.
For some people reading this, of course, the whole process will be translated as “woolly” nonsense and there are people who insist they cannot be hypnotised. To those people I say: everyone can be hypnotised. They just don’t know it. They are simply allowing themselves to become conscious of their own unconscious minds, so that they can make their desired goals a reality.

Different hypnotherapy techniques

Different techniques can be applied to different people. But as an ethical practitioner, I only treat people who wish to be helped and we work together to achieve optimum results. I find that gently easing clients into trance is the most enjoyable and beneficial route.
Reassurance for Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic clients.
Before hypnosis begins, I always reassure clients that at no point during trance will they lose their free will and that they will be able to come out of trance at any stage if they so wish. This has never happened in my experience because people in trance find the state they are in so pleasurable.

Awakening

And so, once the unconscious has absorbed its new understanding, I ease the client out of their trance.
This is done by counting them back to a fully conscious state. Sometimes people are perplexed because they believe they haven’t been in a trance – it’s only when they realise that an hour has passed that they begin to recognise the value of the experience. The inner strength and understanding they have gained in the process stays with them. There will most likely be specific moments in the future when they recognise the changes that have been made. It is not their personality that has been changed, just their understanding and insight. They are no longer becoming victims of tricks of the mind.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like more information on what happens in hypnotherapy session.

What happens in a hypnotherapy session?

Is hypnotherapy better than counselling?

is hypnotherapy better than counsellingIs hypnotherapy better than counselling?

I often get asked questions about my work at Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic – not just by clients but by people I meet elsewhere who wonder what hypnotherapy is all about. Some are intrigued and some are puzzled. And others have some funny ideas about the whole process.
So I thought it might be a useful exercise to try to answer some of the most common questions that come my way.
I’ll kick off what is going to be a series of blogs by trying to address a question I was asked just last week: “Is hypnotherapy better than counselling?”
Well, I know what I might be expected to say.
But I’ll start by stating that the efficacy of any type of treatment generally depends on the expertise of the person offering help. And I’m fully aware that counselling provides a valuable service for many people.
In essence, counselling involves a trained professional listening to an individual’s emotional anxiety regarding a particular traumatic event, for example a job loss or relationship breakup or bereavement. Counselling can be on a one-to-one basis or involve group sessions or be conducted on the internet or even over the phone.
In the UK, the National Health Service offers free counselling and there are more details to be found at www.nhs.uk. Treatment can be accessed without referral from a GP. There are also private counselling services available, which incur a fee. There are free counselling services offered by a variety of charities too.

Psychological issues with hypnosis

Hypnotherapy usually includes elements of counselling and is a category of psychotherapy, which itself is an umbrella term covering various forms of treatment for psychological issues. One particular advantage of clinical hypnotherapy is that it achieves more immediate results compared to conventional treatment, though there are always going to be some people for whom conventional treatment will be preferential.
And then there are psychologists – both counselling psychologists and clinical psychologists who work mostly in hospitals and rehab units as well as privately. Some will employ hypnotherapy within their treatment programmes.
But hypnotherapy, sadly, is not usually available on the National Health Service as a specific treatment option, though the benefits of properly administered clinical hypnotherapy are widely acknowledged by most health care professionals.

Gaining insight “Is hypnotherapy better than counselling?”

At Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic, I treat clients for a range of psychological conditions using cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) in the first instance to enable them to understand their condition. The client’s newly-acquired insight is then integrated into the unconscious (subconscious) through clinical hypnosis.
We are all governed by our unconscious – it keeps us alive and protects us instinctively but at times, for reasons of conditioning or even circumstance, the unconscious can misinterpret our environment. As a consequence people often misunderstand why they act as they do – why they smoke, or why they have this or that phobia, or why they get angry or feel unable to control their emotions, why they feel anxious, frightened or depressed.
What hypnosis provides is a means of communicating with the unconscious to achieve a heightened sense of awareness. This enables an individual to reset his or her unconscious and, therefore, in the future react with rationality to specific events. Hypnotherapy trains the individual to think accurately. As well as addressing specific issues it enhances overall wellbeing.
Whatever psychological issue a client presents at Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic, there is no judgment but a simple assurance that most psychological conditions can be treated successfully. When other forms of treatment might be preferable, I advise accordingly.

Easing anxiety with counselling and hypnotherapy

“Is hypnotherapy better than counselling?” It’s true that for some people, the opportunity to talk about their issues with a counsellor will resolve or ease their anxieties.
But for others the services of a trained clinical hypnotherapist is going to be more beneficial, especially when dealing with longer-term conditions such as phobias, OCD, weight issues and smoking. More details about treatment and conditions are to be found on my Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic website.

Spider phobia treatment in Leeds

Spider phobia Hypnotherapy LeedsSpider Phobia

If the following little tale makes you want to scream – or even sends a shiver down your spine – you might consider paying me a visit at Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic.
…Only last week I was picking up toys from the living room floor when what I thought was a large rubber spider came to life. I can’t deny it made me jump as it scuttled off under the sofa. But my reaction was caused by the unexpected movement and not because I’m scared of real spiders. I don’t have a spider phobia.

There are, though, a lot of people who ARE afraid of spiders

Some of them are terrified – so much so that their lives are made a misery. They have a phobia of spiders.
Bad news then if they happened to have read a headline in the Yorkshire Evening Post last week: “Huge spiders are invading Leeds homes”. Reporter Alex Evans revealed that at the moment we’re in what he calls Spider Season – that’s the mating season for our eight-legged chums – and, apparently, thanks to the warm summer they’ve been at it like hammer and tongs since mid-August this year.
The Yorkshire Evening Post article is accompanied by a series of pictures sent in by readers – and I have to say some of those spiders look as big as spuds – not the sort of thing anyone with arachnophobia will want to looking at before bedtime.
But, happily, Alex provides a few helpful tips on how to keep the beasts at bay… tips that include drawing a bold chalk line around your bed because apparently spiders don’t like chalk. So teachers at least should sleep easy this September. I wonder, though…As I shifted my sofa in search of my own runaway spider I found no trace of my spider but there were at least two stumps of chalk from the toy box lying on the floor as if mocking all journalistic advice. Or maybe that was why my spider had fled the scene?
Anyhow, such conundrums aside, what I need to say, as a therapist, is that people need not be fearful – arachnophobia (spider phobia) – is like other phobias and can be treated.

Spider Phobia treatment at Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic

At Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic, I have successfully treated numerous clients for their spider phobia using a combination of cognitive behavioural therapy and clinical hypnosis. And I always start by explaining to clients that phobias are rooted not in what individuals perceive as being the cause of their anxiety but by the fear of their anxiety being triggered. In other words they are scared of being scared.
It’s not always an easy concept to grasp but essentially phobias including spider phobia’s arise from conditioned anxiety about being anxious and can be treated by providing insight, changing perceptions and allowing an individual to think rationally. Hypnosis integrates this new-found understanding into the unconscious. More details can be found on my website.
At the end of treatment, a client who has come to me with arachnophobia is able to hold a spider in his or her hand and not be scared – assuming, of course, I can find a spider – but at this time of the year, that’s not too difficult.

Vaping or Hypnotherapy in Leeds

Vaping HypnotherapyVaping is back in the news

Over the past few years, Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic has helped hundreds of smokers give up cigarettes.

And one question sometimes asked by people first enquiring about treatment is: “Would it be just easier to vape instead – use e-cigarettes rather than the real thing?”

My answer to this is simple: “When you really want to quit, I’ll be here and happy to help.”

I add that quitting is by far the better option.

I also add that when they are ready to quit, giving up will be a doddle. It will be a doddle because I’ll teach the client to understand their condition and integrate that comprehension into their unconscious, through clinical hypnosis.

You might conclude then, that I don’t think vaping is a great idea and as a consequence that the recent recommendation by the Science and Technology Committee of MPs that vaping be provided on prescription by the NHS is flawed.

This, though, is not entirely the case.

First of all, I am happy to accept that vaping is a far safer option than smoking cigarettes and that anyone not yet ready to give up entirely should make the switch from cigs to e-cigs as soon as possible.

But there are other factors to consider.

The most important of these is that the use of tobacco substitutes in smoking cessation programmes perpetuates the myth that smoking is primarily a physical addiction when in reality it is a psychological issue – like obsessive compulsive disorders it is rooted in anxiety and can be successfully treated. The reasoning and methodology of this treatment are explained in my book “Stop Smoking: It’s a doddle” which can be downloaded for free from my website.

It should be noted that treatment using clinical hypnosis is far more cost effective than vaping.

And with vaping you’re still shackled to a useless, expensive, socially-restricting habit. Figures as to how many vapers are also dual users (that is they continue to smoke tobacco too) are a concern too.

Health studies

Other matters to consider regarding vaping, include the fact that, as the products have been available for only a decade, no long-term health studies have been possible; there are suspicions that vaping can damage vital immune system cells. In other words while vaping can almost certainly be deemed a safer option than cigarettes it is not correct to say the practice is without health risks.

A claim made by the science and technology committee of MPs’ report into vaping that raises concern is that there is no evidence to suggest e-cigarettes provide a gateway into smoking for youngsters. I would, however, ask from what studies has such a deduction been drawn and I would point them in the direction of studies by Cardiff University and some in the USA that might challenge such a conclusion.

Vaping in public

Finally, another matter certain to cause controversy is the suggestion that regulations on vaping in public be relaxed, so as to encourage smokers to switch from tobacco cigarettes. The obvious question here is why vapers should be allowed to expose others to their habit?

I’ll just stick to helping people quit and conclude with a quote from George Butterworth of Cancer Research UK responding to the report, who said that any changes to current e-cigarette regulations “should be aimed at helping smokers to quit whilst preventing young people from starting to use e-cigarettes.”

Lost Connections- Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic Book Review

Book review – ‘Lost Connections’

Depression is a widespread affliction in today’s western society and a condition I have treated on numerous occasions at Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic.
Symptoms differ in degree between individuals, of course. And causes are varied too: people may feel trapped in an unrewarding job; they may be lonely; they may have suffered trauma or abuse in childhood or later years or there may be some other cause. Quite often clients themselves don’t recognise or understand the origin of their torment – it can be buried deep.
As a therapist I work with clients to identify the root of their depression so that we can begin to resolve their psychological pain.

Humans need hope

I build treatment on the simple premise that, where there is hope, depression cannot exist.
Of course, to those seemingly trapped in feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, delivering that hope can be challenging – but it is possible.
And hope, despite what Big Pharma might have had us believe for the past few decades, is not to be found in a bottle of anti-depressants.
It is with this narrative that I strongly welcome the publication of a new book by journalist Johann Hari – Lost Connections (Uncovering the real causes of depression – and the unexpected solutions).
It is a book I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone who feels depressed or even mildly down. Politicians and other influencers should also read it with immediate effect.
“We have been systematically misinformed about what depression and anxiety are,” writes Hari, who embarked on his lengthy research for the book after years swallowing increasing dosages of anti-depressants – his condition, he believed was caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. While there can be a biological element to depression, he says, it is triggered by social and psychological causes – something that has been ignored for a very long time but which in many other cultures is blindingly obvious.
While therapists, like myself, can help individuals with their conditions, it is mostly ignored that it is within the remit of society as a whole to overcome this condition. Hari explores various options.

Essential values

Essentially, what is needed is hope and in a fair, open, kind and tolerant society, hope can be delivered. Such caring values still exist, of course, and they are held dear by most of us. Yet they can be easily negated by divisive attitudes exercised and encouraged by some in authority.
Humans have a choice, writes Hari.
“We can find practical ways to dismantle hierarchies and create a more equal place where everybody feels they have a measure of respect and status. Or we can build up hierarchies and ramp up the humiliation – as we are doing today.”
Lost Connections by Johann Hari is published by Bloomsbury. There is a Facebook page: www.facebook.com/thelostconnections
There are far more famous people than myself happy to endorse this book, judging by the dust jacket.
Elton John says: “If you have ever been down, or felt lost, this amazing book will change your life… Read it now.”
Simon Amstel writes: “It is very important everyone read this book and do what he says quickly as possible.”

And Ariana Huffington states: “A bold and inspiring book that will help far more than just those who suffer from depression.”
Why, I wonder, do I feel like I’m doing myself out of a job here?
Be happy.
Have hope.
Read the book.

Daniel.

Quitting Smoking Will Always Beat  Just Cutting Down

Quitting Smoking Will Always Beat  Just Cutting Down

Questions about cutting down on smoking

When someone comes to Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic wanting to give up cigarettes one of the first things I propose is that he or she makes a list of all the bad consequences of smoking.
This is known as negative reinforcement and simply reminds individuals why they need to quit. While it’s a good idea to acknowledge the harm caused by smoking, negative reinforcement is actually only a minor part of our stop-smoking programme. That’s because smokers are not morons – most know that cigarettes are bad for their health. But they believe they are physically addicted. The reality, however, is that smoking is a psychological condition – or more accurately the fear of giving up is a psychological disorder.
So at Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic, using cognitive behavioural therapy combined with clinical hypnosis, we enable smokers to understand their condition and change their beliefs and at the end of just one session the client leaves as a non-smoker.

Treatment works

Now this might all sound very straightforward and too good to be true but the fact is that the treatment works.
Yet for many smokers making the decision that they want to quit is a giant leap and so rather than seek treatment they flirt with the idea of cutting down or taking up “vaping” or some other form of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). While “vaping”might be less harmful than smoking, it fails to resolve the core issue regarding perceived addiction and in far too many cases ultimately fails to ween people away from their nicotine habit. And here is the crux of the problem – some smokers feel they can ween themselves away from cigs – either through NRT or simply by cutting down the number of cigarettes they smoke. They do not understand their condition. And as a consequence they remain a hostage to nicotine. Though a smoker might think that by just smoking the occasional cigarette, they won’t be doing themselves a lot of harm, they are wrong. It’s a fallacy to believe that the occasional cig is innocuous.

UCL research

This fact was emphasised in a BBC report last week citing a study by the Cancer Institute at University College London, which was initially published in the British Medical Journal.
The research revealed that people who smoked only one cigarette each day were on average 50% more likely to develop heart disease and 30% more likely to suffer a stroke than people who had never smoked. There was no safe level of smoking in relation to these diseases.
Professor Allan Hackshaw, who led the research, is quoted as saying that in some countries there has been a trend for heavy smokers to cut down but while this might result in a proportionate reduction in the risk of cancer, the incidence of the more common disorder of smokers – cardiovascular disease was not reduced proportionately.
Smokers need to stop completely, he concluded.
OK – so that’s not what a lot of smokers want to hear but the good news is that those who do stop, quickly reduce the risk of cardiovascular illnesses.

Dangerous risk

Martin Dockrell, of Public Health England said the study adds to evidence that smoking just one cigarette a day still leads to a dangerous risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Others are more conciliatory – Paul Aveyard, professor of behavioural medicine at the University of Oxford, for example, points out that reducing the number of cigarettes smoked is not entirely without merit – but , of course, nowhere near as good as quitting.
Deborah Arnott, of health charity ASH, believes vaping is acceptable* if it means an individual stops smoking.
While I can understand Ms Arnott’s contention and recognise its best intentions – my gripe is that it promotes the myth that smoking is primarily a physical addiction. Most smokers believe they are addicted and that is why it becomes so hard for them to stop.
Here at Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic we treat smoking as a psychological issue and I am currently rolling out my treatment methods across the country, starting with a conference in Birmingham for fellow therapists. My aim is to reach as wide an audience as possible with the message that it’s actually a doddle to stop smoking. And with the support of other professionals I am hopeful of this leading to significantly fewer people killing themselves with cigarettes.

*Latest research, at New York University, suggest that while e-cigarettes are less of a risk to health than smoking, they are not harmless and increase the chances of a heart attack or various cancers by damaging DNA. Defenders of vaping dispute the study’s conclusions.

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.

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