Recognising that something needs to change
I am always interested to hear what has prompted clients to seek help. Whilst some clients book appointments to help them overcome a recent, specific event such as redundancy, a car accident or divorce, others report they have been struggling with anxiety or low mood for some time.
Neuro-leadership experts David Rock and Jeffery Schwartz have identified that ‘humans have brains designed to register change as threat, and thus they often cling to old habits and mindsets. We have, therefore, a built-in preference to go on with the ‘comfortable', known, and to stick with less energy/effort demanding habits’. In other words, we would prefer to stay in an uncomfortable situation, rather than do anything to improve it.
In light of this, I never underestimate the level of insight required for clients to recognise that something needs to change.
Realising that things can change
Clients will often say something like ‘I’ve always been anxious and I’m probably too old to change’ Not so.
We can influence the structure of our brains, and hence our thought patterns, by consciously directing our thoughts in a more helpful direction. We do this by focusing on solutions and developing positive behaviours. But as Rock and Schwarz point out, this requires energy and effort.
It’s important for clients to understand that they do have to apply some effort to elicit change – hypnotherapy is something we work on together, it’s not something I ‘do’ to them.
Understanding how to change
Understanding how the brain functions is fundamental to moving forward. During every session with clients I place a great deal of emphasis on the explanation of the functioning of the brain. It can be a huge revelation for clients when they understand why they are feeling the way they do, and of course, what they can do to change unhelpful, habitual patterns of thought.
After that, sessions involve guiding clients towards their preferred future. We do this using solution focused techniques designed to overcome the brain’s default desire to maintain the status quo.
With the emphasis on solutions and positivity, change happens naturally, one step at a time.