Mental Health & Wellbeing

With Sharon Dyke

Sharon is a fully-qualified and insured senior solution focused hypnotherapy practitioner, and member of the CNHC, a voluntary regulator for supplementary therapies.

Sharon is also a senior supervisor supporting practitioners across the country, and a senior lecturer with Clifton Practice Hypnotherapy Training, teaching other like-minded people to join one of the country’s fastest growing models of therapeutic interventions.

Galmington & Comeytrowe News is proud to be publishing articles written by Sharon to provide our community with information on managing our mental health and wellbeing. If you would like to contact Sharon to arrange an appointment or ask a question please visit her website  http://www.SharonDykeHypnotherapy.co.uk or you can contact her directly to book a consultation on 07766-250-113.

10 January 2022

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU ASK FOR!

I was reading a blog the other day about how our language shapes our reality. I don’t take credit for the blog, but it did get me thinking about a statement I say regularly in my clinic, which is, “Listen to your language”.

Language plays an integral role in how we perceive our emotions and experiences, in fact, we might go as far as to say, our language shapes the nature of the emotion being felt at the time. For example, Self-criticism relates strongly with depression and anxiety.

In my clinic it’s important for me to point out when clients use negative language, often it is a sub conscious default, they are not even aware they are doing it. I have a saying, “Acknowledge and change”. We don’t want people to give negative language energy but recognising your emotions (Acknowledge) and learning to manage them (Change), is one of the most important skills you can have.

My clients are often amazed at how, just by beginning to notice their language and how they feel, it becomes easier to adjust their behaviour. This is generally the beginning of them taking back control. After all we know its not the event in our life that’s the problem, it’s the way we respond to it.

Steve De Shazzer and Insoo Kimberg, the co-founders of Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) set out ten tenants that SFBT stood by, one of my favourites was, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got, so do something different! Like many quotes, this one is simple yet powerful, think about it, if you want something different out of your life you must put something different into it, otherwise how do you expect things to change.

As a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist, I use a framework of questions that concentrates on helping clients to move towards the future that they want, and to learn what can be done differently. This approach sees the client as the expert in their own life. With this shift in perspective clients are guided in the direction of hope and optimism, which often leads them to a path of positive change.

13 December 2021

COVID-WHOS RESPONSIBILITY IS IT TO KEEP US SAFE

We live in uncertain times, so much fear and anxiety around, coughing has become so anti-social, I have experienced people moving away from me when I cough in public, often with a look of despair on their face. Is this anti-social or is this taking responsibility for our own wellbeing?

This current climate is unique to most of us. We are confused and scared, should we wear masks, shouldn’t we? Should we have the vaccination, shouldn’t we? So much to think about and all we want to do is stay safe.

As you can imagine, this heightened level of anxiety in the world has led to more people seeking emotional support. As a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist seeing people face to face, it’s crucial that I follow government guidance around infection prevention control (IPC) in my clinic, and I take that seriously. However, recently I visited a SPA and was not asked to wear a mask or cleanse my hands when entering the reception, that got me thinking about who’s responsibility is it to keep people safe when accessing wellbeing centres.

Yes, we are governed by legislation and rules, and most practitioners see IPC as their top priority, but should we entrust the whole responsibility for our safety onto our therapist or practitioner? For me it’s a partnership of expectation. We often put our trust in the professionals and expect them to, “get it right”, but we must remember, this pandemic is new to us all.

I expect clients to take responsibility for their own safety, by that I mean, check before they book, are they happy with the precautions I have taken to ensure their safety? Ask me the question. “Are all the required precautions in place? and what exactly does this mean for me”. I will confidently explain how I prioritise the safety of my clients.

People I see are already experiencing heightened anxieties, the last thing I want is to add to that. I am governed by legislation, my professional bodies and my insurance company. I have risk assessments in place, fresh air circulating and use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure both our safety and that of our families. However, it is important that we do not assume that because someone is in the position of authority that they are getting it right.

For more information on my COVID policy and procedures you can visit my website at www.sharondykehypnotherapy.co.uk or call me on 07766250113 for an informal chat.

17 November 2021

Who is Sharon Dyke?

I am a born and bred Tauntonian, I did leave for a bit in the 80s and early 90s, but I came back to my roots when my Daughter was two, and have stayed put ever since, she’s 30 now. I live in the centre of Taunton, I like a little bit of hustle and bustle, it helps me feel alive. The most important thing in my life is my family, that includes my dogs. I have three dogs all very badly behaved, my partner thinks I spoil them. To be honest he’s right, they only have to bat their eyelids at me, and I go all mushy, not everyone’s cup of tea I know, but they are my babies. My daughter got married two years ago to an amazing young man, and just seven months ago I became a granny, and oh boy, do I love being a granny. My granddaughter is just the scummiest little chick and makes me smile every day.

What I love about Taunton is the sense of community, and the fact we are so central, two hours to London and two hours to Cornwall, we also have Devon on our door step and the most beautiful country walks, which I often go on with my family. I don’t have much in the way of hobbies, I tend to work long hours, but that’s because I love my work and see it as a vocation.

What do I do?

I am a senior practitioner, qualified in Solution Focused Hypnotherapy & Psychotherapy, with over 35 years experience working in adult social care, primarily managing community mental health services and currently, an adult social care regulator.

I became interested in hypnotherapy 16 years ago whilst working specifically with people who experienced mental health problems, this included trauma. Following much research into the use of positive psychology it became apparent to me that hypnotherapy, (also known as positive mental rehearsal, or guided relaxation), and the use of trance, could be a valuable tool, and when offered as a therapeutic intervention, could help many people take back control of their lives.

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is my primary approach and is based on solution-building rather than problem-solving. Together we explore current resources and best hopes rather than present problems and past causes.

My work is underpinned by neuroscience and neuroplasticity. I teach clients how to focus on the three P’s; positive thinking, positive activity and positive interaction, all of which are proven to support biochemical processes and the release of our happiness hormones, the most popular ones being endorphins, dopamine and serotonin.

I work in partnership with my clients, offering a set of metaphoric tools, that, when used, will help you take back control of your life.

Has lockdown increased issues?

The Health Foundation reported in 2020, that 69% of UK adults are worried about the impact of COVID-19 on their lives, and, The World Health Organisation (WHO) are concerned about a potential mental health crisis with substantial increases in depression and anxiety being reported.

Common worries include catching the virus, losing jobs, finding jobs, keeping our families safe, loneliness, and other people’s behaviour. These are just some of the mental health issues that we are facing. Since the beginning of the pandemic research tells us mental health issues have increased by approx 8.1% yet access to mental health services has reduced.

The NHS has also recognised the increase in mental health issues, and has published 10 “COVID-19 anxiety tips”. https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coronavirus-covid-19-anxiety-tips/ When you analyse these 10 tips, you will see that they are all focused on the three P’s – Positive interaction with other people, Positive action through meaningful activities, and Positive thinking.

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is a fantastic way of helping you reduce your anxiety levels. Let’s face it, we can’t stop bad things (such as COVID-19) happening but hypnotherapy can help you cope better.

Do I offer online sessions?

Yes, I recognised that therapy is increasingly being delivered remotely by means of technology, so I compiled guidelines, which relate to safe and ethical online working.

There are advantages and disadvantages of Online Therapy. It does enable people in remote areas, and those who are disabled or housebound to access services and I can work with people across the world now. However, there are concerns around confidentiality, privacy and unreliable technology.

As is the case with face-to-face therapy, I have a legal duty to comply with the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and an ethical responsibility to safeguard clients from unauthorised disclosure of information.

How do you get in touch?

Sharon is a fully qualified and insured senior hypnotherapy practitioner and member of the CNHC, a voluntary regulator for supplementary therapies. She is also a trainer and senior supervisor supporting practitioners across the country, and a former senior lecture with Clifton Practice Hypnotherapy Training. To find out more please visit her website www.sharondykehypnotherapy.co.uk

1 November 2021

Coping with persistent pain

There are generally two types of physical pain.

Acute pain, which is a sudden, sharp pain that usually lasts less than 6 months. Acute pain acts as a warning to your body, it is telling you your health has been compromised. A common belief is that acute pain is temporary and occurs after an injury or illness, the pain tends to reduce and eventually go, once the injury has healed.

Chronic or persistent pain is pain that often carries on, sometimes for months, even years, despite medication or treatment. Most people get back to normal after pain following an injury or operation, but sometimes the pain carries on for longer, and often it can come on without any history of an injury or operation.

Living with persistent pain can be exhausting, not just physically but emotionally as well. I often see people in my clinic when they just don’t know where to turn, they have had to cope with persistent pain every day for long periods, the Dr can no longer help and so they look for alternatives.

Unfortunately, if ongoing for long periods of time people experiencing persistent pain can can often become very negative in their thinking which may cause their body to release the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Over time, high levels of these hormones can contribute to symptoms of depression or anxiety.

This can lead to a complex negative cycle between mood and pain, it can leave sufferers feeling hopeless, and even angry at times, basic tasks can become overwhelming and impact on their ability to enjoy other aspects of their lives.

As a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist my job is to help clients alter their perception of pain. Gaining a better perspective can often help reduce the emotional and physical impact of pain, conditions I help help with regularly can include:

· Fibromyalgia/Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR)
· Muscular/degenerative pain/sciatica
· Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)
· Long-term skin conditions such as eczema
· Back pain
· Phantom limb pain
· Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and other digestive disorders

You can often reduce the symptoms and start to take back control of your life through, not only using hypnosis, which is a state of focused awareness often accompanied by a deep state of relaxation, but also focusing on, what we like to call, the three Ps, Positive Thinking, Positive Interaction and Positive Action. If you can relate to this article, please do give me a call, it might just be time to start engaging with, and enjoying life again.

18 October 2021

TIMES ARE CHANGING, SO IS THERAPY

It amazes me how there are still so many myths in the world. One of which is around Hypnotherapy. Some people still think Hypnotherapists “control minds”. This could not be further from the truth. As a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist, I help people develop the tools to manage events in their life, insight into the problem is no longer the focus as neuroscience tells us, focusing on the problem will amplify it.

Modern hypno (ie Ericksonian) is mainly focused on using indirect trance rather than direct. This means that we don’t hypnotise people to lose their fear of driving or spiders etc, we help change their perspective on their ability to choose their reactions to the thing that triggers their fear. As Erickson says, ‘you use hypnosis not as a cure, but as a means of establishing a favourable climate in which to learn’.

Its time to bust some myths I think, long gone are the days of stage hypnosis, there are no swinging pendulums anymore. In fact, Hypnosis is one of the fastest types of modern therapy in the country. Hypnotherapy is used in the NHS, recommended by NICE guidelines for the treatment of IBS, some elite athletes use hypnotherapy or “guided visualisation”, as part of their mental skills training, midwives often use Hypnobirthing, and even consultants and mental health professionals regularly turn to Hypnotherapy to manage their own wellbeing.

However, as a therapeutic intervention hypnotherapy is still misunderstood, we have a long way to go before it will be considered mainstream even though it can be a great tool for treating a multitude of mental health issues as well as generally improving overall wellness. Lifelong phobias can be eliminated, symptoms of anxiety and depression can be managed, confidence and self-esteem can be improved.

In my 15 years as a practitioner I have thousands of clinical hours under my belt that has led to life changing experiences for most people. I’m proud to be a modern hypnotherapist, we are leading the way, so that this extremely effective therapy can be considered mainstream for our next generation.

4 October 2021

How to know if Hypnotherapy is right for you?

When we are dealing with our mental health challenges, there are often two natural reactions, reach out, or retreat. The turning point for clients I work with tends to be when they make that first call, they often wish they had “reached out” sooner.

Many people don’t want to admit they are struggling, I regularly hear people say, “I can “solve” this on my own.” However, trying to battle depression or anxiety on your own can be like trying to swim against a strong current, it’s so overwhelming you end up getting swept away.

It’s natural for people to not want to be a burden, we don’t want to look weak. However, hidden illnesses, like Depression and Anxiety are serious health conditions that millions of people in the UK suffer from, just like clinical diabetes or COPD. The good news is, just like these clinical health conditions, No one has to suffer with symptoms of Anxiety or Depression.

When I see people for their initial consultation, I can often see the frustration on their face. One client recently said, “I just can’t snap out it, its driving me mad”. First thing I do is acknowledge the strength it took for them to book that initial consultation.

There are so many themes, I’m sure some of you will be familiar with some of them:

  • I get so angry over the little things.
  • I never used to feel like this.
  • I’m so anxious all the time.
  • I have no motivation
  • I stopped doing the things that I loved doing.
  • I can’t let go of the past.
  • I convince myself everything will be major catastrophe.
  • I have no self-esteem, no belief in me anymore.
  • I seem to fixate on food.
  • I have no confidence, I’ve lost me.


These are all signs and symptoms of depression or anxiety, when people realise how common these themes are it often comes as a great relief to know they are not alone.

At your initial consultation I will explain how the brain works. Neuroscience tells us the brain is wired to protect us from perceived threats, unfortunately, in modern day these behaviours are unhelpful.

It’s not always obvious what the root cause is, however, as a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist I don’t need to know the problem. Clinical hypnotherapy is a combination of talking therapy and hypnosis. I use Solution Focused questioning techniques to help you identify a preferred future, and hypnosis, which is the most amazing form of relaxation. This combination helps enhance that positive, solution-seeking train of thought.

And because Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is a ‘brief’ intervention, a couple of months is usually all is takes to equip you with the skills and behaviours to respond to any life event in the future. Now that’s how know if Hypnotherapy is right for you.

6 September 2021

RELAX AND TAKE CONTROL

It’s safe to say, in the 21st century most of us lead a consistently hectic lifestyle. We wake up and off we go, rushing around here and there, often we don’t stop. I know I have spent many a day where I have suddenly realised I haven’t had a drink or even had a loo break, and now its 4pm. It’s so easy for us to to forget the importance of simply being able to stop and relax.

Hectic lifestyles can become overwhelming if we don’t manage our days well, this can lead to stress for many people. Stress can manifest in a variety of ways – from insomnia, overeating, drinking too much, OCD, even getting angry over little annoyances.

As a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist, I help my clients to relax using specific techniques that includes a little bit of psychotherapy. I explain how the brain works, which is crucial if we want to make changes to our behaviours, this can often help clients start to take back control as early as the consultation stage.

Naturally I use “Hypnosis” as part of the session, this is a simple technique allowing you to enter a nice state of relaxation, when we are relaxed we can often let go of stress and tension, and who doesn’t want to let go of that?

Don’t be mis led though, Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is underpinned by neuroscience, so my clients are safe in the knowledge that I’m not doing anything, “to them”. My job is to help people regain control of their lives and feel better again.

If you want to know more hop over to my website where I have a video explaining how I work, and if you want to book a consultation feel free to do so. www.sharondykehypnotherapy.co.uk

26 August 2021

COVID-THE IMPACT ON EDUCATION

As a member of the National Council of Hypnotherapy, I get access to some amazing articles and occasionally I come across one I just know I have to share because it’s so current, and a lot of you will resonate with it. This is one of those times, I think we all know the impact COVID-19 has had on our children’s education this past couple of years, this article highlights the struggles parents and children have had to endure during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Rates of absenteeism growing across UK schools due to mental health difficulties.

My daughter is an adult now, but so many of my clients have experienced this as a parent. One client told me how the most recent lockdown is still impacting on their child’s anxiety, to a point where they are still unable to attend school! They have had a long period of on: off schooling due to COVID-19 and seen family members become very un-well through contracting COVID-19, so you could argue that their anxiety is entirely justified.

Parents contact me every day asking if I can help their children, and I can answer with confidence, “Yes I can”. However, as the information in this article explains its not going to be an overnight fix, changing our mind set takes time. I encourage parents to acknowledge their children’s anxieties and find ways of supporting them, without constantly pushing them towards the “thing” that they fear. This can be challenging, because, as we know, children must go to school.

Children’s minds are so fascinating, the level of creativity astounds me, I explain how the brain works in metaphor, and they just get it, which really helps them take back control. I explain how their primitive mind will respond to their “problems” (fears/worries) using their survival instincts; flight (anxiety), fight (anger) & freeze (low mood), so, the key is to find ways to reduce the brain’s survival instinct. Then, and only then, will they engage their intellectual brain, (the left prefrontal cortex) and find ways to overcome their problems. We can start this process by focusing on the three Ps, positive thinking, positive interaction and positive action. So, let’s remind our children what was good about school, who do they miss most from school, what do they miss doing at school. Thinking about school more positively can help our children take back control of their education.

13 July 2021

Creating new healthier habits

When you get in the car, do you remember putting the key in the ignition, checking your mirrors, turning the key, pressing the accelerator, pulling away, using your indicators when driving up the road, getting to your destination. Do you even remember, parking the car, getting out and locking it?

Chances are, if you’re like most of us, you don’t recall doing every minute action to get from A to B, you did it all automatically, but remained safe at the same time. Yet there would have been a time when you had to consciously think about every manoeuvre. You would have taken extra care because of other factors such as busy roads, you would have concentrated hard on keeping the car straight and hitting the clutch to change the gears while you drove to your destination, whilst avoiding any accidents.

So, how did you reach a point when you’re so unaware of the process that it’s almost as if you got to your destination on autopilot. The answer is repetition. You’ve driven the roads tens of thousands of times, so the pathways in your brain that represent “driving” are nicely embedded. The connections between the nerve cells are so strong, they fire automatically once you initiate the sequence.

It’s the same with anything you repeatedly do, combing your hair, brushing your teeth, making a drink. You’ve done these things so many times you don’t have to apply any conscious effort. They have become subconscious habits.

There’s a very good reason for this. If we had to apply our conscious attention to every waking action, we would have no capacity for learning something new. So, once something’s been repeated often enough, we can do it automatically. That frees our conscious mind up for learning new skills.

The same principle applies to how we respond to events in our life. If we have developed a habit of getting angry when the traffic makes us late, or feeling anxious in social settings, then these responses are as automatic as driving our car or brushing our teeth. So they feel ‘natural’. They feel as if they are the right thing to do in those circumstances.

That’s fine, if this response works well for you. If you feel like you’re leading your best life and you get to the end of the day feeling positive, but if you’re stressed, anxious, angry, feeling down or lonely, maybe your automatic responses are not working so well for you.

So, what can you do? Well, changing your automatic thoughts is just like learning any new skill. At first you have to apply some conscious effort, just like you would do if you were learning to drive, but if your consistent, and repeat the desired new behaviour regularly, it will become an automatic subconscious response, and when your default reaction to situations is to focus on the positives first, your in control, and when your in control, life becomes so much more enjoyable.

30 June 2021

People often ask me, ‘What is the most common condition you work with.” I always reply with, “Anxiety”.

Anxiety is a survival mechanism to stressors in our daily lives. On a short-term basis this is great, if we are faced with a Polar Bear, we need anxiety to help us get out of that dangerous situation. However, for some people this can evolve into a long-term psychological and behavioural response. Lingering anxiety is related to the (mal-) functioning of the primitive mind in response to everyday stressors and annoyances.”

In simple terms, anxiety is that feeling of worry or fear, it can be mild where we just can’t put our finger on what’s wrong, we think life is ok but we have this one problem we keep focusing on, or severe, where we have full blown panic, we can’t leave the house and we just want to escape from the situation.”

Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life, for example, you may feel anxious about sitting an exam, or attending that job interview. Symptoms of anxiety can manifest in a multitude of ways: low self-confidence, OCD, PTSD, fear of driving on motorways, performance nerves, inability to cope with the simplest of challenges, becoming withdrawn or bad-tempered, having difficulty sleeping, the list goes on.”

Symptoms of anxiety can even manifest as physical symptoms Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a classic example, but it can also lead to migraines, skin conditions, over-sensitivity to pain or noise, high blood pressure etc.”

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can help. It’s unlikely any of us will ever be in a situation where there are no potential causes of stress, but we can choose how we respond to it so that we cope better.

To find out more please visit my website www.sharondykehypnotherapy.co.uk

15 June 2021

Why do we need Motivation?

Motivation is key to our mental wellbeing, when we’re motivated, we achieve, and when we achieve our mental wellbeing often improves.

“Lack of motivation can often cause frustration; it can undermine confidence and people can become disillusioned. In order to successfully motivate yourself it’s important to work out exactly what inspires you, what your goals are. This is not easy when you are not motivated in the first place.

“Confidence building and motivation often means people changing their current beliefs, maybe you have grown up believing your not good enough, people tell you, ‘you can’t do that’ or ‘that’s not achievable’.

Keep it simple, one small step leads to big achievements. Often our goals are overwhelming, so start at the beginning, ask yourself, what small step do I need to take to show that I’m working towards achieving my goal? This is called motivational steps.

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is based on the formula of auto suggestion. Hypnotherapy for motivation converses with your subconscious mind, and urges it to alter self-perception and self-image. Our subconscious is largely responsible for the way we think and react; so, if we continually tell it that we can’t do something then we’re training it to accept the fact we can’t do something.

Your subconscious mind understands the true potential that lies within, and hypnotherapy and positive thinking taps into this potential. Through gentle affirmations such as “I can, I will”, you retrain your mind into believing that anything is possible.

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is based on positive thinking, positive interaction and positive action, the three Ps. Once you start this journey, you can see the changes, clients often tell me how they get a whole new view of the world. From procrastination, you can become a self-starter, from a couch potato you can run a marathon, from an underconfident person, you can do whatever you want to do.

To find out more please visit my website http://www.sharondykehypnotherapy.co.uk or contact me directly to book a consultation on 07766250113.

21 May 2021

How Negative Memories Impact Your Life

When unpleasant and painful experiences get stored in your brain, they can have real negative mental and physical consequences but when you understand the process your brain uses to store and recall negative memories, you can begin to understand how you can change them.

There are different kinds of memory that are supported by different brain systems. One major distinction is between working memory and long-term memory. Long-term memory can be further divided into explicit and implicit. The contents of your implicit memory have much more impact on your everyday life than explicit.

Implicit memory includes a collection of nondeclarative forms of memory that make up your habits, skills, priming, and simple kinds of conditioning. Also called automatic memory, implicit memory is comprised of bodily sensations and images and is below your conscious awareness. It’s the basis for how you feel and function most of the time. Basically, you can think of it like a filter through which you view and narrate everything that happens.

Explicit memories are further classified as either episodic or semantic. Episodic memory is specific to an individual and contains personal details about the events of their life, for example knowing the name of your childhood pet.

Semantic memories are the common knowledge facts accumulated over our lives. They’re the indisputable bits of information not attached to emotion or personal experience. For example, knowing that the sky is blue or how to drive would be semantic memory.

Whether a negative recollection comes from implicit or explicit memory, it is “reconstructed” every time you retrieve it. Recalling a memory is an active process in which synapses connect in a particular way to construct that specific memory. Then, when you stop focusing on the memory, it becomes reconsolidated in your brain’s memory structures again.

Science shows that it is possible to overwrite something the brain has learned, in this case, a memory, in a process called “Pavlovian extinction. For example, you have a argument with a friend, its uncomfortable, but you know rationally that you two will be ok, yet you can’t stop worrying about it.

What you could do is to be aware, at the same time, of both your anxiety and a feeling of being cared for by that person. Keep making the positive feelings stronger than the negative one’s while being aware of them both at the same time.

After about 10 minutes you can let the anxiety go and stay with the feeling of being cared for by the other person. If the worry about the relationship returns, its likely to be a lot milder as a result of this practice, and the more you do it, the greater impact it will have on your brain.”

This method may be merely providing an alternate association for the negative material while leaving the original learning (memory) intact. The original association may still be retrieved in the future depending on the context or trigger but its important for us to know when a memory is reconsolidated when recalled, and stored again this is when we can change it.

3 May 2021

You Can’t Always Believe Your Brain

If you’re like most of us, your brain is filled with a constant chatter of thoughts, beliefs, and memories, some of which can be negative and often have a huge impact on your life. In extreme cases this deceptive thinking can result in depression, anxiety or anger, and sometimes all three. This cycle starts with a thought that causes discomfort and moves your focus away from your goals and aspirations in life.

These thoughts are generated as part of your automatic, subconscious mind, often referred to as negative self-talk or inner-critic they are made up of implicit memories and learned beliefs from your past. Some common deceptive brain messages are, I should have/shouldn’t have, I’m a bad person, I don’t deserve to be happy, I’m not good enough or I can’t do that. These thoughts might be accompanied by a physical sensation or an emotional state. For example, heart is racing, excessive sweating a feeling of hopelessness or craving something.

In an effort to ease the unpleasant sensations or emotions, some people may behave in automatic, habitual ways, often they are not even consciously aware of their response, or the motives behind it, for example, using drugs or alcohol, over eating, gambling, avoiding situations, repeatedly checking something, or generally just overthinking or worrying constantly.

The good news is that just because you have had these thoughts and/or behaved in certain ways in the past, even if it seems its been there for most of your life, it doesn’t mean that you have to behave that way in the future.

You have the power to change your life and your brain. Neuroscience tells us the brain in malleable, that means when you learn how to focus your attention on the positives in life, and you start to behave in ways that empower you, you actually rewire your brain. This is a very powerful process when applied and because it is backed up by research, we can have confidence in the approach.

Why not try it yourself, I ask my clients to focus on the three Ps, Positive Thinking, Positive interaction and Positive action, when they do this they spend more time in the left prefrontal cortex raising serotonin, our happy hormone and when we raise lots of serotonin we are happy, now that has to be good.

18 April 2021

Many of my clients live in the negative zone. Now, it’s important to understand that residing in the negative zone means that no matter what good may come your way, you will find something wrong with it. This is what is called the Eeyore Syndrome.

You remember A.A. Milne’s classic character Eeyore. This friend of Winnie the Pooh was a threadbare, grey donkey that was always moping around, talking to himself and awaiting his inevitable misfortune.

Well, that’s often my clients. Once a client visited the Caribbean, a free all expenses paid holiday, they came back and when I asked what was good about the holiday, they couldn’t wait to tell me everything that went wrong including how it rained every day.

Well let’s get this straight. The rain didn’t ruin their holiday. What really ruined it was the constant bombardment of negative thinking that caused them to feel victimized. It was their thoughts about the bad weather that supported an overwhelmingly negative belief system and a pre-existing bad attitude that ruined the holiday.

Of course, it would have been nice if they had some sunshine but they didn’t and in concentrating so much of their energy on what wasn’t working, they never gave themselves a chance to have a good time. It’s impossible to have a good time if your thoughts are causing you to be miserable.

When you allow outside circumstances that you have no control over to determine your happiness, you’re up a gum tree, as a dear friend of mine would say and that’s how you get caught up in the Eeyore Syndrome.

This type of thinking reflects a lack of confidence in yourself and as a result, your enjoyment and appreciation of all the good things that life has to offer gets distorted, leaving you unhappy.

Remember, thoughts don’t just happen. They are something we create and therefore we can direct them. When something upsets you, it’s how you respond that determines the effect it will have on you.

So instead of focusing on how bad things are, or have been, you should see the situation from a more positive angle, remembering, the goal to bouncing back from any negative experience is to gradually shift your way of thinking to things that make you feel better.

22 March 2021

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and COVID -19

If you, or someone you know, suffers from OCD or obsessive ruminating, it’s likely that coronavirus, has made things worse.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD describes a condition where a person is overwhelmed by obsessive thoughts or compulsive and repetitive activities. When obsessions develop into pervasive OCD, all aspects of life are affected. The impact, of course, will be unique in every case but it’s likely that work, relationships, and friendships will be negatively impacted.

With our current climate being so challenging, It’s important to distinguish between increased hand-washing in response to government advice related to COVID-19, and obsessive hand-washing that is out of proportion and out of control.

We are all thinking more about our behaviour and being more cautious. However, if you can’t ‘switch off’, obsessively watch the news, or frequently ruminate on what could happen or might happen, you may have developed an unhelpful habit.

When you manifest obvious damaging physical habits, eg your hands become red raw, or severely dry and cracked, or you start pulling your hair out, literally, you know you have a more serious problem.

One effect of OCD is the constant worry that something terrible is going to happen. It’s exhausting.

Over time, family and friends struggle to understand or give support. The long-term result can be social isolation and emotional torment, leading to generalised anxiety and depression.

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is proven to help sufferers gently resolve these challenges by steadily changing perceptions embedded in the subconscious mind, and breaking the pattern of negative and repetitive thinking, and catastrophizing.

It’s important to stress here that I do not diagnose, I simply respond to each client’s assessment of their own issues; however, they define them. As a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist, we do not analyse the root causes of how the problem was created, we simply help you to imagine your preferred future using trance, and give you the tools to make your desired changes, this enable you to take back control of your life.

22 February 2021

As a solution-focused hypnotherapist, I regularly hear people say how lonely they feel. I think we can safely say most of us will have been feeling very lonely during the long periods of lockdown. For some people, like many elderly people, it was because they were on their own for many weeks other people may miss their siblings, or best friend and others may just miss being part of a wider social network.

According to de Jong-Gierveld and Raadschelders (1982), Duck (1992), and others, there are two levels of loneliness: chronic and transient. For people who are chronically lonely, their experience of loneliness is persistent, often extending to many years, and doesn’t change with what the person is doing. It looks like the cause of the feelings is internal. They may feel the intensity of the loneliness vary over time, but it is always there. Transient loneliness, as its name suggests, is experienced for short periods of time, and is usually the result of a specific situation either way loneliness is definitely not good for you.

The distress associated with loneliness can be significant and may lead to feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. People who are shy, experience social anxiety, or are reluctant to take social risks, and they may be more likely to describe themselves as lonely and may have difficulty forming lasting and satisfying relationships.

It should be remembered, that while many people who feel lonely are physically alone, not everyone who is alone feels lonely. Some people simply choose to have few social connections. If a person chooses to be alone, they may well enjoy and welcome the solitude.

One of the issues with loneliness is that many people are reluctant to admit it – they feel that it is a sign of weakness. The obvious solution to feelings of loneliness is go to out and meet people, but that can be hard. Obviously, during lockdown that was very difficult!

So, what can you do to stop feeling lonely? The three Ps, Positive Thinking, Positive Action, Positive Interaction. Without positive social interaction, we can feel distanced, depressed and unhappy. Research suggests that loneliness can be a greater risk to your health than smoking or lack of exercise. Making connections with people improves brain function because it constantly engages and exercises the mind, while also developing cognitive function. When we connect with another person, our brain and body release chemicals that make us feel good. One of these chemicals is oxytocin.

Levels of oxytocin, the ‘Cuddle Chemical’ increase when we hear a friendly voice or see a smiling face or make eye contact with someone, but by far the best way to boost your oxytocin is through physical touch. A warm hug or a high five gives us a feeling of security and support. Feeling supported by others can do wonders for our confidence and self-esteem, and for our general sense of wellbeing.

During the pandemic loneliness is an even bigger problem, and it, in many ways, is a hidden problem. The good news is that solution-focused hypnotherapy can help.

8 February 2021

How to overcome needle phobias 

Needle phobias are surprisingly common, with 1 in 10 of us in the UK suffering from them, referred to as trypanophobia. Due to the COVID19 vaccination programme now is a great time to overcome your phobia.

To be honest, most people don’t like having injections particularly, but a phobia is an overwhelming and uncontrollable reaction to needles triggering the flight or fight response.

There are different types of needle phobia, with different therapeutic ways of overcoming them. Our bodies are designed to respond to any breaks in the surface of the skin, and when this happens our mind and body can’t help but respond. Even People who are absolutely fine with having injections, or blood tests etc. will experience a change in their physiology to some extent, usually an increase in heart rate and blood pressure even if it is only slight.

The vasovagal response is common amongst needle phobias. This causes a drop in blood pressure and heart rate when punctured with a needle, which in turn causes a fall in blood supply to the brain. So, what does the body do to overcome this? It forces us to re-address the balance by getting our head to the floor by fainting.

Some people can’t even talk about, or see needles as this response is so strong, even watching someone getting an injection on TV can cause a heightened state of arousal.

Many people however can feel faint, but don’t actually faint. Time to allow the body to return to a state of homeostasis is needed here, so sitting for a while after the procedure is extremely helpful, rather than jumping up and scooting out of the door.

Other types of needle phobia are acquired through your experiences. As babies we don’t come into the world with a fear of needles. It is believed that only the startle response (fear of loud noises) and the fear of falling are the ones we are born with. Many needle phobias are learned. This can be through previous traumatic experiences. Up to 20% of needle phobias are Resistive responses, which means that the individual has a previous experience of being restrained in some way to have a procedure (or fear of), for example if a child is held down to get a vaccination. The anxiety that this causes (even if it was well intentioned) can result in a phobia being formed.

We can even pic up a phobia vicariously – so just by seeing someone have a negative reaction to a needle can establish a phobia.

The most obvious cause of a needle phobia, is if we ourselves have had a negative experience which then goes onto to create a negative association with needles (associated response).

The great new is that solution focused hypnotherapy can help people overcome their fear using specific techniques that help the brain recreate a positive template, enabling you to have your vaccine and continue living life to the full.

27 January 2021

I appreciate that even for those of us who usually look forward to the summer, 2021 continues to challenge us, requiring us to compromise and adapt our summer holiday plans, but does this mean we are also forced to lower our expectations and restrict our opportunities for creating and sharing those summertime memories?

Perhaps if 2020 does have a silver lining, it’s the opportunity we’ve had to re-evaluate, prioritise, and appreciate the simple things in life – an ‘attitude of gratitude’ for the things and people we can sometimes take for granted. Plus, our constant attempt to focus on what we can influence and our recognition of the benefits in doing just that.

We’ve been asked repeatedly to practise thinking, acting, and interacting in a positive way – despite the pandemic – and what better time to reflect, acknowledge, and celebrate your personal strengths and the qualities that have helped you through this testing time?

Summer may not be ‘normal’ again this year, but perhaps you can utilise your skills to create a different recipe using the ingredients you have to hand. Let’s take back control with our imaginations, our creativity, our sense of humour, and our values – all of which are priceless. Small acts of empathy, kindness, and compassion can make a big difference, and they can bridge a physical gap allowing us to reach out and connect with one another, and it doesn’t stop there, there’s often a wonderful ripple effect and you’ll notice a rewarding bounce-back, which, in turn, gives you a lovely boost of serotonin.

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy helps you to combat feelings of anxiety, frustration, and low mood and gives you the tools to find your way into the best mindset possible – so that you can cope better, whatever the situation. As a solution-focused hypnotherapist I  work on the premise that “problem talk creates problems, solution talk creates solutions” (Steve de Shazer). Using your imagination to your advantage is therefore key because neurons that fire together wire together and map new neural pathways in your brain for your thoughts, feelings, and behaviour to follow.

You can start now by putting any frustrations, stresses, or worries gently to one side and instead visualising what you wish for this summer, concentrating on what is possible and within your reach.

11 January 2021

Looking after our mental wellbeing during the third lock down.

It is crucial to take care of our mental health during these next few months.

 I am seeing more people than ever during these lockdowns, which is why it’s a relief that the government has recognised the importance of supporting people with their mental health, and currently allows CNHC registered practitioners to continue seeing people face to face.”

 My clients are so relieved when I assure them, I can still support them through these difficult times as often I can be a client’s lifeline, especially when they live alone. The isolation that can come with lockdown can escalate anxiety levels to the extreme.

 Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can be a fantastic resource during lockdown, I’m not only helping people manage the isolation, I’m also supporting clients suffering from other issues such as, alcohol and drug addiction, or anxiety disorders, but one thing I have noticed is lots of clients have decided to use lockdown as a time to make a positive change to their current lifestyle in preparation for post Covid.

 I still offer online therapy through most online platforms for those clients who just can’t get to me, my priority is to continue working with my clients in a way that suits them, whilst conforming to government guidelines, insurance expectations and GDPR requirements.

 I am a fully-qualified and insured senior hypnotherapy practitioner and member of the CNHC, a voluntary regulator for supplementary therapies. I am also a senior supervisor supporting practitioners across the country, and a former senior lecture with Clifton Practice Hypnotherapy Training, teaching other like-minded people to join one of the country’s fastest growing models of therapeutic interventions.

To find out more please visit do visit my website where you will find a wealth of information. Be safe everyone.

29 December 2020

NEW YEAR NEW YOU

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is well known for successfully helping people to quit smoking in one simple session, but it can also be used to help reduce symptoms of anxiety, anger, or depression.

As we head into 2021 you may be looking for alternative ways to ease the stresses of a hectic 24/7 lifestyle. As we take on more and more, we can sometimes find that we struggle to cope, and so stress becomes that unseen burden that can manifest in unhealthy behaviours. For example, over eating, addictions, or insomnia.

“Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is a fantastic way to help to reduce stress. I work with you to help you make positive changes and move forward in a relaxed, calm and confident manner. Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is also widely used to help people overcome specific phobias, including the fear of flying. Spring is a time when people may be looking ahead and booking flights for summer holidays, but some people may find flying a little daunting. As well as other types of phobias, we can also help ease the fear of flying using specific techniques which are therapeutic for the client.”

I am a fully-qualified and insured senior hypnotherapy practitioner and member of the CNHC, a voluntary regulator for supplementary therapies. I am also a senior supervisor supporting practitioners across the country, and a former senior lecture with Clifton Practice Hypnotherapy Training, teaching other like-minded people to join one of the country’s fastest growing models of therapeutic interventions. 

To find out more please visit my website  http://www.sharondykehypnotherapy.co.uk

16 December 2020

Why I became a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist!

I am often asked why I became a Hypnotherapist, so let me explain.  I have spent 34 years working in health and social care and have seen first-hand the effect that ongoing stress can have on people, often leaving them feeling overwhelmed, lacking in confidence, motivation and losing sleep.

The system always seemed to focus on crisis management and our NHS, as we know, is so over stretched. I wanted to do more to help people find a sustainable way to manage those low intensity mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and anger.

I have always been fascinated by the human mind, and Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is underpinned by Neuroscience. When working with me, my clients get up to date evidence based therapeutic interventions which helps them change unhelpful thought patterns and resolve the habits that create anxiety and unwanted behaviours. This helps my clients regain control over their lives.

After 13 years as a practitioner, my aim is to help people transform their mental health so they can achieve their true potential and enjoy a happier and more fulfilling life.

To find out more please visit my website  http://www.sharondykehypnotherapy.co.uk

30 November 2020

Becoming a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist is, quite simply, the best thing I’ve done in my career. EVER!

 If you had told the younger me that I would be helping people overcome anxiety, depression, anger, pass exams and interviews, conquer their fears and phobia or find motivation to live life to the full, I would not have believed you, and yet, in the 13 years since I qualified, I have done all of those things many times over – and much more besides.

Why hypnotherapy? I’d always been curious about the power of the subconscious mind ever since seeing positive psychology emerged in the 1980s. The science of positive psychology operates on three different levels – the subjective level, the individual level and the group level. The subjective level includes the study of positive experiences such as joy, well-being, satisfaction, contentment, happiness, optimism and flow

 After thirty five years working in Health and Social care, in particular, working with people who experienced mental health issues, I decided to satisfy my curiosity about how the subconscious mind worked by enrolling on a hypnotherapy diploma course.

I was lucky to stumble upon one of the most respected hypnotherapy training establishments in the country. The use of Solution Focused techniques attracted me; focusing on the clients preferred future rather than analysing the problem suited my value base, and the fact that the course was under pinned by neuroscience suited my scientific background.

I graduated from the Clifton Practice in 2008 and have not looked back. I have the privilege of working with so many different people from all walks of life, including children and adults, and I’m so humbled by the strength and resources people draw on that enables them to change their lives for the better. Often, I hear clients say to me, “You have changed my life.” But in truth, it’s the client that changes their life I just facilitate it and watch them fly, that is the power of the subconscious.

9 November 2020

Lockdown- Here we go again – looking after our mental wellbeing is crucial in these challenging times.

My clients were so grateful when I was able to assure them I can still support them through this second lockdown face to face. CNHC Registrants in England meet the definition of “other…health services, including services relating to mental health” contained in Section 47, Part 3 of the Schedule to The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 4) Regulations 2020 and can therefore continue to practise. She adds, “This legal advice has taken into account that in Section 25E of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 practitioners on Accredited Registers are defined as engaged in work that includes the provision of healthcare.”

This is different from the last lock down, where we had to stop working face to face completely and my clients moved to on line therapy, this time they have a choice. Some people have chosen to revert to online therapy, not just because of Covid but because it’s also so convenient.

During these difficult times we can lose our motivation and im finding this can cause so much frustration, it can undermine confidence and people can become disillusioned. So lets use lockdown to work out exactly what inspires you, what your goals are and lets emerge from the pandemic stronger that ever. This is not easy when you are not motivated in the first place.

Confidence building and motivation often means people changing their current beliefs, maybe you have grown up believing you’re not good enough, people tell you, ‘you can’t do that’ or ‘that’s not achievable’.

So keep it simple, one small step leads to big achievements. Often our goals are overwhelming, so start at the beginning, ask yourself, “What small step do I need to take to show that I’m working towards achieving my goal?”

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is based on the formula of auto suggestion. Hypnotherapy for motivation converses with your subconscious mind, and urges it to alter self-perception and self-image. Our subconscious is largely responsible for the way we think and react; so, if we continually tell it that we can’t do something then we’re training it to accept the fact we can’t do something.

Your subconscious mind understands the true potential that lies within, and hypnotherapy and positive thinking taps into this potential. Through gentle affirmations such as “I can, I will”, you retrain your mind into believing that anything is possible.

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is based on positive thinking, positive interaction and positive action, the three Ps. Once you start this journey, you can see the changes, clients tell me how they get a whole new view of the world. From procrastination, you can become a self-starter, from a couch potato you can run a marathon, from an underconfident person, you can do whatever you want to do.

19 October 2020

WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY 10/10/20

World Mental Health Day raises public awareness about mental health issues and aims to promote a discussion around the issues we face.

So let’s discuss: we all know this year has been a tough one, particularly for people living with mental illness and their carers. Research shows that nearly 80% of people living with mental illness say that Covid-19 and the national response have made their mental health worse.

About 1 in 4 people experience mental health problems each year, so most of us will know someone who has struggled with their mental health. We can all feel anxious, stressed or low at times, but it can be a problem if these feelings get worse, go on for a long time or affect our daily lives.

If you know someone who is struggling to sleep or is having issues with their mental health, there are things you can do. It can take time for someone’s mental health to improve, and some of us may need professional help, but there are ways to help and support someone get back to positive mental health.

The small things we say or do can make a big difference to someone. Just telling them you see their struggle can be important help. People can be afraid to let others know they are not coping, but being able to connect with others can be a relief.

Starting the conversation may be difficult, and it’s normal to feel upset if someone you care about is struggling. But it can help to stay calm and assure them they do not have to deal with things alone.

You can also be there for them in other ways, like cooking for them, going for a walk or watching a film together A chat may come more naturally if you are doing something together first.

Fear often prevents us from being open about our mental health difficulties. We can break down these barriers and talk more openly when we know more about mental health problems and how common they are. If someone’s mental health problems are affecting their daily life, they may benefit from further support.

Tell them they have taken a vital first step by talking to you, and that it’s now important they speak to someone. For more information about my services please do take a look at the website, www.sharondykehypnotherapy.co.uk. The first step is the hardest but once you’ve taken it the journey back to good mental health is a breeze.

5 October 2020

THE PANDEMIC GOES ON BUT WE DON’T HAVE TO LET IT GET TO US

The Health Foundation reported in June this year, that  69% of UK adults are worried about the impact of COVID-19 on their lives and The  World Health Organisation (WHO) are concerned about a potential mental health crisis with substantial increases in depression and anxiety being reported.

Common worries include catching the virus, losing jobs, keeping our families safe, loneliness, going back to school or work and other people’s behaviour, these are just some of the mental health issues that we are facing. Since the beginning of the pandemic research tells us mental health issues have increased by 8.1% yet access to mental health services has reduced.

The NHS has also recognised the increase in mental health issues, and has published 10 “ COVID-19 anxiety tips”.  https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coronavirus-covid-19-anxiety-tips/ When you analyse these 10 tips, you will see that they are all focused on the three P’s – Positive interaction with other people, Positive action through meaningful activities, and Positive thinking.

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is a fantastic way of helping you reduce your anxiety levels. Let’s face it, we can’t stop bad things (such as COVID-19) happening but hypnotherapy can help you cope with it better with everything that life throws at you.

As a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist, it’s my job to help clients identify their preferred future, rather than dig around in the past, working together, we will find solutions are unique to you. So make a start, follow the  NHS generic tips on coping with anxiety and if you want to make a positive change in your life give me a call.

23 September 2020

THE THREE Ps

Positive Thinking, Positive Action, Positive Interaction. How do we interact with others and how does this affect our thoughts?

“No man is an island,” wrote John Donne. Human beings are social beings and we thrive on positive social interaction. Social functions make us feel that we are part of a collective. As far back as we can trace, humans have hunted and gathered in groups because we are better as a tribe than individuals.

The sense of belonging we experience makes us feel secure, safe and comfortable. When we get together with our family and friends, we are reconnecting in a positive way with “our tribe.” 

Most of us enjoy socialising and making friends. It’s fun! Studies suggest that those who socialise a lot may live longer than those who don’t. Socialising has a strong influence on our health and happiness.

When I ask clients ‘Who is important to you?’ their answers include family and friends. 

The human brain, and in particular the neocortex, is much larger in humans than in primates and mammals of similar size. The neocortex is involved in higher order brain functions including social cognition functions:

Conscious thought
Language
Regulation of behaviour
Empathy
Emotional intelligence – the ability to understand the feelings and intentions of others

Our brains are wired in such a way that we experience reward during mutual social interactions. Human beings are social being, we come into the world as the result of others’ actions, we survive through dependence on others. Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we do not benefit from others’ activities. For this reason, it is hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationships with others.”    Dalai Lama XIV

Without positive social interaction, we can feel distanced, depressed and unhappy. Research suggests that loneliness can be a greater risk to your health than smoking or lack of exercise. Making connections with people improves brain function because it constantly engages and exercises the mind, while also developing cognitive function. When we connect with another person, our brain and body release chemicals that make us feel good. One of these chemicals is oxytocin.

Levels of oxytocin, the ‘Cuddle Chemical’ increase when we hear a friendly voice or see a smiling face or make eye contact with someone, but by far the best way to boost your oxytocin is through physical touch. A warm hug or a high five gives us a feeling of security and support. Feeling supported by others can do wonders for our confidence and self-esteem, and for our general sense of wellbeing.

Think about your favourite social activity, so that you can connect with others and create positive social interactions. Choose an activity you enjoy so that you will stick with it! If you would like some Solution Focused Hypnotherapy to help, do get in touch. I love to see my clients achieve their goals and will do everything I can to help build your confidence and improve your social interaction.

7 September 2020

Reducing stress with Solution Focused Hypnotherapy

With the nights starting to draw in, it’s not uncommon for people to experience a low mood in the winter months – especially if we have enjoyed a summer break with a spot of sea, sun, and sand.

It can also be tough to get back into the swing of things when darker mornings and early commutes become combined with working in a stressful environment.

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can help to improve people’s moods. Imagine inside your head you have a bucket, we call it the stress bucket, when we experience negative thinking, that metaphorical stress bucket starts to fill up until, eventually, it starts to overflow and then we can find it difficult to cope.

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can really help.  I help people to empty their stress-bucket levels by encouraging them to focus on positive aspects of their lives and to work through solutions with them so that they can move forward in their lives.

Each session also has a hypnosis aspect attached to it where I work with you in a trance state. Trance is actually perfectly normal, and we go in and out of trance on a regular basis every day, it is simply the brain’s way of processing information and emptying the stress bucket.

When my clients goes into the trance state, I am effectively aiding them in emptying their stress bucket and so allowing them to cope with life better.

Stress can manifest itself in a number of ways and Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is designed to help people by focusing on future events in their life. My job is to help my clients to move forwards in their life by looking at ways to  make tomorrow better than today.

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is a fantastic tool for helping people to reduce their stress but remember Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can also help with stopping smoking, weight, anger and sleep management, along with phobias (such as a fear of flying) and easing pain.

Have a fabulous day

Sharon D

28 August 2020

Have you had to change your summer plans?

August brings the excitement of summer. Most people love this time of the year, longer evenings, sunshine, music festivals, holidays, barbecues, and trips to the beach. The summer is here but we are still adapting to the “new normal” and you may be feeling disappointed that your summer plans are not as you had hoped this year.

It’s OK to feel anxious in response to this uncertainty and the sadness relating to the loss of our plans. You may be angry at the situation and how our lives have changed beyond our control.  However, you can gain some control back over your life by focusing your energies on creating the best possible summer for you. This article explores how movement and fitness can improve your mental health. Imagine if there was a pill that would make you healthier, smarter, and happier! A pill that made you age more slowly and even improved your memory! I think there would be a pretty long queue, even if you did have to stand 2 meters apart.

However, there is another way to achieve these outcomes, its a set of organising ideas that provides a holistic, scientific framework for understanding the way that individuals and society work. This framework encompasses the latest scientific understandings from neurobiology and psychology, as well as ancient wisdom and original new insights. Human beings come into the world with a given set of innate needs, together with innate resources to support them to get those needs met. Physical needs for nutritious food, clean water, air and sleep are obvious, and well understood, because when they are not met people die, but, there is one overwhelming factor that keeps us functioning at our best and that is movement.

The Brain-Fitness Connection

Dr Ratey MD Harvard has established himself as one of the world’s foremost authorities on the brain-fitness connection. He says: “Moving your body, moving the muscles, pushing yourself to do something more than you did before, boosts our capacity for focus and learning and lifts our mood”.

Physical activity is nature’s way of preventing stress, exercise can ward off the negative effects of chronic stress and even reverse them. Studies show that people who add physical activity to their lives become more socially active, increasing their confidence and helping to build social connections. The recent government report from ‘Moving Communities’ shows that the growth of group exercise in the UK has provided much needed social connection and feelings of togetherness which are so important in reducing loneliness.

As with any new goals the best advice is to start small, build your fitness slowly. Walk before you run, find an activity you enjoy and make it a regular part of your routine. One of the best things about physical activity is that there are many options. You just need to find the one that suits you.

24th August 2020

Anxiety is the main reason people seek Hypnotherapy

A Hypnotherapy Association conducted research into the reasons people seek the services of its members.  Anxiety was by far the most common condition seen by the Association’s Hypnotherapists, with over 34% of cases related to anxiety or stress.

The research was carried out by the Association for Solution Focused Hypnotherapy (AfSFH) in the form of a survey sent to the Association’s 168 registered members. The Hypnotherapists were asked to provide statistics relating to clients they saw.

The survey was intended to provide a snapshot of what prompts people to seek Hypnotherapy. Whilst many people are familiar with the use of Hypnotherapy in helping clients to quit smoking or to help overcome their fear of spiders or flying, the fact that the therapy can help with a wider range of issues is less well known. The AfSFH wanted to conduct the survey to demonstrate the scope of our work.

There was an excellent response and the association was able to analyse statistics relating to some 227 anonymous clients. As Solution Focused Clinical Hypnotherapists we specialise in helping clients to cope better with a range of conditions, many of which are either caused or exacerbated by anxiety, so it was interesting to see such a high percentage of clients presenting with anxiety or stress. It is encouraging to feel our message is getting out there.

The most common reasons for people seeking the therapists’ services were:

Anxiety or Stress (including Panic Attacks): 34%Eating disorders or Weight Loss: 11%Confidence: 8%Depression: 8%Phobias: 7%Addictions: 4%Sleep Disorders: 3%Smoking Cessation was less than 3%.

This, again, is to be expected.  Whilst therapists do provide Smoking Cessation treatments, these are not the mainstay of our work. We specialise in working with clients, using a collaborative approach, to help you make changes over time, in the way you respond to life’s ups and downs. The effort a client puts in between sessions to making changes is as important as the therapy sessions themselves.

The Solution Focused approach is modern and is based on Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT), a well-researched form of psychotherapy developed in the 1980s. We encourage clients to focus on their preferred future rather than dwelling on past or current problems.

Other reasons for seeking help included: IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), Sports Performance, Relationship Issues and Pain Management.  In terms of the age of clients:

18% were 19 to 30 years old37% were aged 31 to 4527% were 46 to 60 years old11% were 61 to 70 with a handful of clients under 19 or over 70.

The Association speculates: The peak of 31 to 45 year olds could be a reflection of their life stage with children, careers and financial pressures all taking their toll.

The survey highlighted that clients of all ages are seeking Clinical Hypnotherapy to help with a wide range of conditions. For more information or to arrange a consultation you can contact me on 07766250113 or go to my website  http://www.sharondykehypnotherapy.co.uk

10th August 2020

Why I became a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist!

I am often asked why I became a Hypnotherapist, so let me explain.  I have spent 34 years working in health and social care and have seen first-hand the effect that ongoing stress can have on people, often leaving them feeling overwhelmed, lacking in confidence, motivation and losing sleep.

The system always seemed to focus on crisis management and our NHS, as we know, is so over stretched. I wanted to do more to help people find a sustainable way to manage those low intensity mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and anger.

I have always been fascinated by the human mind, and Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is underpinned by Neuroscience. When working with me, my clients get up to date evidence based therapeutic interventions which helps them change unhelpful thought patterns and resolve the habits that create anxiety and unwanted behaviours. This helps my clients regain control over their lives.

After 13 years a practitioner, my aim is to help people transform their mental health so they can achieve their true potential and enjoy a happier and more fulfilling life.

I am a fully-qualified and insured senior hypnotherapy practitioner and member of the CNHC, a voluntary regulator for supplementary therapies. I am also a senior supervisor supporting practitioners across the country, and a trainer, teaching other like-minded people to join one of the country’s fastest growing models of therapeutic interventions.

To find out more please visit my website  http://www.sharondykehypnotherapy.co.uk or contact me directly to book a consultation on 07766250113.

1st August 2020

Managing our mental health through the Coronavirus Pandemic: 

Are you obsessing over the news or just feeling so overwhelmed you want to stay in bed.” The good news is, you are not going mad.

Deep inside our brains, there is an almond shaped bit of the brain called the amygdala, it’s like the security guard of the brain who alerts us to danger by triggering a flood of chemicals such as, adrenaline and cortisol. Our heart rate goes up, our breathing becomes shallow, we feel shaky and sick. When we finally calm down, we feel mentally and physically drained.

Once the immediate danger is over, your imagination can keep your amygdala active, making you feel worse, or, it can help you adapt to the new situation and survive.  

There are many things we can do to help ourselves remain calm and in control, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, below, I have listed a few to get you started, but please remember, if you are under medical or psychiatric care, please take the advice of your medically-qualified practitioner over any general advice offered here.

Keep to a routine: The more of a routine you have, in general, the more likely you are to stay calm, relaxed, and in control.

Accept what you cannot control and take control of small things: Small positive actions bring back a sense of being in control, give us focus and purpose, and move us gently into the problem-solving part of the mind.

Develop a good sleep routine: A regular 8 hours of sleep positively affects our hearts, immune system, and mental health; but sleep can elude us when we are anxious. Avoid coffee and tea in the afternoons or switch to decaffeinated. Avoid horror films, disturbing thrillers, and social media in the evenings. If you have been comfort eating, start cutting down on sugar and refined carbs, which also cause insomnia. Several studies indicate that chamomile tea really does help you get to sleep.

Focus on what is good now: Focusing on what is good or working well will help you move out of your anxious primitive mind. 

Breathe: Breathing into the abdomen calms the central nervous system. Simple daily breathing exercises can help you stay calm and in control. 

Stay in the moment:  Mindful awareness can also calm the mind. 

Social Connections: We need to connect with others, to encourage and reassure each other. Luckily, there are so many ways we can stay in touch. You’ll find other people feel just like you do, and you are probably coping better than you think. 

Anxiety, withdrawal, and exhaustion in a crisis is a normal human response. Staying mentally healthy does not mean not feeling. It means experiencing your emotions, accepting them fully, and finding ways to process them and get them in perspective. I hope some of these ideas help you to stay safe and well, physically, and mentally, during the coronavirus crisis.

27th July 2020

Change is a constant, which means it is even more important for me to keep my skills and knowledge fresh and modern.  My background in Health, Social Care and Regulation means I am an advocate for evidence-based practice as this improves my client’s outcomes and helps me evolve as a therapist.

This year, I will be developing my therapeutic skills with a key focus on the solution focused approach, I have signed up to complete the Certificate in Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) with Brief. Brief is the world’s leading centre for Solution Focused practice in therapy and counselling. 51 years old and still learning, not bad for an oldie.

As the name suggests, Solution Focused Brief Therapy is an approach to therapy that is brief and effective. Research shows that it brings about lasting change and is effective in up to 83% of cases.

The therapy has two key elements:

  • Future-focused
  • Strengths- based


As with Solution Focused Hypnotherapy, we continue look to the future.  No dwelling on the past and we use your own strengths to help you move forward quickly.

SFBT uses the word ‘hope’ quite specifically.  Their choice of the word ‘hope’ is based on a sense of possibility.  Rather than ‘wishes’ or ‘wants’ or ‘desires’, which can be anything.  We can only hope for that which is possible.

Many of my clients come to therapy with some of their hope diminished.  Things are not going the way that they want them too and their normal coping mechanisms are no longer working.  A major reason for coming to therapy is to increase one’s sense of hope and to expect change (Reiter, 2010.)

Water the flowers not the weeds!  Nurture the hopeful signs and ignore the rest!

The essence of SFBT is to have a hope-filled conversation and to explore in detail your preferred future. A future where your hopes have been achieved.  We work together to find the possible resources and strengths you have to attain that future.

Identifying what you, the client, wants from the therapy will always be the forefront of the conversation. ‘What are your best hopes from us working together?’

This initial question invites you to immediately focus on the outcome you desire, rather than trying to fix or understand the problem you arrived with. Go on ask yourself the question now!

People come to therapy because they want to achieve something.  It makes perfect sense to focus the conversation on what is desired, instead of what is wrong.

Beginning with the end in mind

Solution Focused Brief Therapy has evolved from Solution Focused Therapy. Solution Focused Brief Therapy creates a hope-filled conversation.  In this conversation we use language to describe things as they would be when the best hope was present. This subtly changes the nature of the client and therapist relationship. The client is now trusted.  You are the expert and you know how best to help yourself. I facilitate this process by co-constructing with you the idea of ‘hopefulness’.

I have noticed how my clients start to think differently. It can be a new experience to be asked to think about what you hope for, instead of your problems. Once you see what is happening, the co-constructive conversation really begins to flow. This makes the process very positive and amazing to be a part of, and solution focused hypnotherapy adds the power of hypnotherapy to this very positive approach to helping my clients.

13th July 2020

Preparing to return: Face to face Hypnotherapy for those seeking a more personal experience.

Owing to the Government’s most recent update regarding the easing of lockdown measures, I am now preparing to reopen my face to face practice from Monday 20th July 2020.

For some clients who don’t feel ready to come to the clinic, I will continue to work remotely. However, I have a long waiting list of people who are keen to return to face to face therapy, so now seems a good time to re-launch.

As a member of the Complimentary and Natural Healthcare Council I am guided by their code of ethics, even online, so it is really important my clients understand the measures I will be taking to ensure their face to face experience is safe.

When people come to see me they can expect measures in place that will help us avoid catching and spreading Coronavirus (social distancing). Everyone should do what they can to stop coronavirus spreading.

My commitment to my clients is to:

wash my hands with soap and water often –for at least 20 seconds

always wash my hands after each client visit

sanitise the clinic after each visit

use hand sanitiser gel as an added precaution

cover my mouth and nose with a face mask

cover my mouth and nose with a tissue (not my hands) when I cough or sneeze

put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash my hands afterwards

comply with Government restrictions regarding social distancing

My client’s commitment to me is to:

 only enter the premises when safe to do so, one person at a time

use hand sanitiser gel when you enter the clinic provide contact details in the event we need to follow the trace and track guidance agree to temperature checks prior to entering the clinic use face coverings if you feel comfortable doing so

cover your mouth and nose with a tissue (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze

put used tissues in the bin immediately and sanitise your hands afterwards

comply with Government restrictions regarding social distancing

This guidance is qualified by strict measures of social distancing, all of which are available on the Government website.  Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance and support I will continue to keep clients updated as circumstances change .

I wish all my readers a healthy, safe and peaceful time.

22nd June 2020

Understanding Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety and depression are survival mechanisms to stressors in our daily lives. On a short-term basis this is great, if we are faced with a Polar Bear, we need these functions to help us get out of that dangerous situation.  However, for some people this can evolve into a long-term psychological and behavioural response.

Lingering anxiety and low mood are related to the (mal-) functioning of the primitive mind in response to every day stressors and annoyances. A relatively new approach to understanding anxiety, how it is created and experienced, is the notion of the ‘wounded self’ (Wolfe, 2005,2006). According to Wolfe, the experience of severe anxiety in a particular situation encourages the conscious anticipation of impending catastrophe (negative forecasting) in future similar events, if the event is framed by the person as being personally damaging (perhaps to their sense of self, their identity in that situation, their role (real or not) in causing the event to happen). 

The person re-writes that event as illustrative of something they were perhaps responsible for or were particularly personally affected by, creating a psychological wound. The person may then evade future similar situation because of a fear of exposing themselves to another psychological assault on their sense of self and identity and thus preventing a painful reopening of the psychological wound.

These painful views of the self, the ‘self-wound’ are often accompanied by overwhelming feelings such as humiliation, rage, and despair. These self-wounds influence our decisions, choices, feelings, and actions. Self-wounds not only limit our emotional life, they also profoundly affect our behaviour. They largely determine the people we choose to have in our life, the environments in which we choose to interact, the emotional experiences we deem acceptable to experience, and the risks in life we are willing to take. How do we change these behaviours? One step at a time, positive thinking, positive interaction and positive action.

15th June 2020

Anxiety and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Have you ever felt powerless in the face of Irritable Bowel Syndrome? If so, Solution Focused Hypnotherapy (SFH) can help you learn how to take back control.

The condition affects so many people and is often exacerbated by stress. Unfortunately there is no real cure, but SFH can help to alleviate many of the symptoms. In February 2008, the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE), which gives guidance to the NHS on effective treatments, published guidance for GPs and consultants saying there was good evidence that hypnotherapy was an effective IBS treatment and that it could be recommended for chronic IBS.

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is a, research-based combination of psychotherapy and hypnosis, aimed at encouraging clients to focus on how they want things to be. It’s great because one of the keys to dealing with IBS is to lower the sensitivity to stress and reduce the perception of the bowel pain. IBS is defined by its symptoms, so if Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can remove the symptoms then the IBS will be reduced, which is so helpful for my clients.

To find out more please visit my website  http://www.sharondykehypnotherapy.co.uk or you can contact me directly to book a consultation on 07766250113.

1st June 2020

Corona Virus and Online Therapy

With the outbreak of the Coronavirus, there has been a huge surge in people feeling extremely anxious about their mental health and the mental health of their loved ones. Due to the level of isolation we are enduring, it increases feelings of fear, anxiety and solitude – none of which are good for our general mental wellbeing.

Online solution focused hypnotherapy sessions have helped my clients stay on top of their mental wellbeing. Clients receive the same level of care and commitment as they would in a face-to-face session, with the added security and comfort of being in their own environment, which means clients can get the help they need without any risk to their health or mine.

It is important to realise that when we are feeling anxious, we activate the primitive, emotional part of the brain, this is an intensely alert state where stress hormones flood the body and we enter ‘survival’ mode. Staying in this mode for too long is very stressful for the body and can result in panic attacks and chronic anxiety or depression.

It’s worth understanding that, although we can’t change events, what we can do is to change our reaction to events and that is what can make the difference.