Books.

Books.

February 3, 2014

 

People often ask me what sort of books or study I do, or they  ask what book I would recommend for self-help and improvement.

Well there are many questions like that and many good books on the subject, far too many write about in one blog.

What I’ve decided to do is just to tell you about a few of my favourite books that have helped me and given me the greater knowledge and I hope they will do for you too.

Anthony Robbins – Unlimited Power

This book was one of the first books I read that started to help me to understand how to change my own mind set and even perceptions around what I could achieve. I have read it a number of times and still love to pick it up and flick through it. He also wrote Awaken The Giant Within which he wrote before Unlimited Power but I read this after, possibly the wrong way around but it was still well worth reading this also is very inspirational for me giving answers and helping to believe in myself more. I recommend anything by Robbins

Mapping The Mind – Rita Carter

The best book and maybe the only one you will need until she brings out her next book on the brain and how it works. It is simply packed full of case studies and simple yet fully explains everything it very reader friendly way, in other word you don’t have to be a brain surgeon to understand this book. It will help you to understand this at times complicated subject. We all have a brain so why find out how that thing between our ears works !

I’m OK You’re OK – Thomas A Harris

This book was key to me getting to grips with the Parent- Adult- Child model of the personality otherwise known as Transactional Analysis. This book can get a little heavy and will take a little more reading but once you understand it , it opens up a completely new understanding of how we work and way we act, feel and say the thing we do sometimes.

Change Your Mind And Keep The Change – Steve & Connirae Andreas

This is another powerful book written by the brilliant Steve & Connirae. It is based on some advanced NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming). This book gives different strategies to deal with issues and problem in life. It is written in a very easy to understand way. The name Andreas within my industry is a haul mark of quality and knowledge and together this family has done a great deal to advance the field of personal change and NLP.

 The Rainbow Machine – Andrew T Austin

Tales from a neurolinguist’s journal is how Andrew has presented this little gem. I’ve trained with Andrew on a few occasions and his humour yet knowledge is a great joy to listen to. In this book he recounts some of his more memorable cases and events. Some will make you laugh; some will make you gasp in horror. He has a very different approach to many therapist and to be honest it very refreshing. It really is worth a read.

Free Will – Sam Harris

If you think you have a free will then this book will make you rethink your beliefs on this subject. It is very interesting and intelligently written. It will only take you about a hour or so to read but is well worth the time.

What am I reading at the moment?

Phantoms In The Brain – V S Ramachandran…..and so far it’s been a great brilliantly interesting neurological read. I ‘m about a 1/3 of the way through it.

I hope you enjoy the books if you decide to expand your knowledge.

Adam

www.blhypnotherapy.co.uk

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Pain

Pain

October 30, 2013

Pain is a very interesting area to work with and one that I’ve helped clients to gain control of.

So what is pain?

Pain is essentially an electrical signal sent via nerve pathways to your brain. Pain is the way your brain interprets information about a particular sensation that your body is experiencing. Interestingly there is no such thing as a pain center in your brain, the area’s that are activated when we feel pain are the same area’s that are activated with emotions and attention. The area of the brain is called the anterior cingulate cortex which resembles a “collar” surrounding the frontal part of the corpus callosum in the limbic system of the brain.  A lot of people therefor say pain is a perception. I know when I’ve hit my thumb with a hammer it bloody hurt!

Doctors can prescribe some powerful pain killers to help managed the discomfort it can cause. There are other things pain can cause too like depression due to being in constant pain, irritability and sleeplessness but to name a few. Painkillers interfere with the pain messages sent to your brain so dull the signal from the nerves to the brain, they don’t cure it but mask it. Pain is there for a good reason it’s our bodies way of saying something isn’t right or needs out attention, like my thumb!

So how can I help, well studies like the ones below point to good results using hypnosis.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2752362/

“The findings indicate that hypnosis interventions consistently produce significant decreases in pain associated with a variety of chronic-pain problems”

Also

“In 2004, researchers at the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and the Technical University of Aachen, Germany, tried to identify the exact effect of hypnosis on the brain using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). fMRI measures blood flow in the brain and can be used to view activity in different regions of the brain in real time. More blood flow indicates more activity. To conduct the experiment, the researchers asked participants to first identify when a hot surface became painful to the touch (an eight on a scale from zero to ten) and used fMRI to determine where the brian sent the pain signal. They then hypnotized the subjects and gave them suggestions aimed at reducing pain while increasing the temperature on the surface to the level previously reported as painful. All subjects reported reduced pain (less than a three on the pain scale) if they reported any pain at all. Additionally, the fMRI scan revealed a highly reduced amount of activity in the primary sensory cortex as well as the other high-level pain areas of the brain. Activity in the lower levels of the brain were unaffected by hypnosis, implying that the only changes hypnosis produced were in the conscious levels of the brain.”

http://www.science20.com/welcome_my_moon_base/does_hypnosis_work_relieve_pain

Hypnosis helps the client to go into another state of mind in which they can help to control the emotions linked to the pain and attention to that pain. I think this is one but not the only reasons why it works and this is just my opinion.

Regards

Adam

www.blhypnotherapy.co.uk


Anxiety and Panic Attacks

Anxiety and Panic Attacks

First published May 22, 2013

Over the last few weeks and months I’ve seen a big increase though my therapy practise of people suffering anxiety or panic attacks.

A lot of people complain of very similar symptoms such as racing heart beat and a feeling on being on edge all of the time among other things.

So what happening to cause people to feel like this?

First of all it will be more than likely start with something internally like negative dialog, which will create a picture in the mind. These two things together then create or start the process of creating a negative and most unwelcome feeling.

So the process starts at a neurological level in the brain.  It could be argued that anxiety itself is its own neurological symptom. After all, anxiety can change neurotransmitter levels in your brain causing them to send unusual signals to the rest of your body that  actually effect all your nervous systems and causes real sensations/symptoms.

The forebrain is the area most affected in people with anxiety and panic attacks disorders. The limbic system, which is involved in storing memories and creating emotions, is also thought to play a central role in processing all anxiety-related information. Both the locus coeruleus and the dorsal raphe project to the septohippocampal circuit, which in turn projects to other areas of the limbic system that mediate anxiety. The hippocampus and amygdala are of particular importance, as they are interconnected and also project to both subcortical and cortical nuclei. The amygdala fires off the fight, flight or freeze reaction in the brain then floods the body with adenine. It is the increased activity of the amygdala that causes the symptoms of anxiety and panic. It acually happens like this freeze, fight or flight.

Normally after each anxiety event, the amygdala resets itself to a normal level. But if we continue to experience anxiety or stress over a long period of time, our amygdala is modified and becomes fixed at a high anxiety level. In other words it is in the on position and needs to be switched off.

So it is a very real problem for some people. I think that a panic attack is anxiety but a much stronger reaction, anxiety that has been allowed to grow and become somewhat out of control. A friend who was a nurse in A&E in a local hospital said that 99% of people admitted to hospital who think they are having a heart attack are actually experiencing a panic attack

Anxiety and panic attacks can be cause by increased stress and inadequate coping mechanisms may contribute to anxiety.

One of the best ways to help yourself is to try deep breathing exercise every day for around 10 – 15 minutes at time.

How to do Deep Breathing Exercises:

  1. Find somewhere comfortable where you will not be disturbed during the exercise, if necessary tell who you live with family etc than you don’t want to be disturbed and to be considerate to your needs.
  2. Lie down or sit in a comfy chair, place your hands on your lower stomach. Breathe in through your nose so that your stomach rises, this mean than you will be breathing from the bottom of the lungs not the top. Hold the breath for a couple of seconds then slowly breathe out.
  3. Repeat these 3 or 4 times then allow your breathing to go back to normal.
  4. Concentrate on different parts of the body allowing these to relax one by one starting with the top of your head and working all the way down to the tips of your toes. Image you are in a wonderfully relaxing a safe place, I like to think of myself lying on a beach sunbathing.
  5. Just allow yourself 10 to 15 minutes of relaxing this way every day making part of your lifestyle. Try not to fall asleep as relaxation is different to sleep so you don’t want to associate relaxing with going to sleep although you may find it hard not too drop off at first.

If you feel you need a little more help then please contact me via the website or the office telephone number. www.blhypnotherapy.co.uk or contact me HERE

I am available for one to one or Skype (adam.cowming) therapy sessions if you can’t get to my office in person.

Regards

Adam


The Brain

 

The Brain

First published on December 5, 2012

 

The Cerebrum

The cerebrum or cortex is the largest part of the human brain, associated with higher brain function such as thought and action. The cerebral cortex is divided into four sections, called “lobes”: the frontal lobe, parietal lobe, occipital lobe, and temporal lobe.

What do each of these lobes do?

Frontal Lobe- associated with reasoning, planning, parts of speech, movement, emotions, and problem solving

Parietal Lobe- associated with movement, orientation, recognition, perception of stimuli

Occipital Lobe- associated with visual processing

Temporal Lobe- associated with perception and recognition of auditory stimuli, memory, and speech

The Cerebellum

The cerebellum, or “little brain”, is similar to the cerebrum in that it has two hemispheres and has a highly folded surface or cortex. This structure is associated with regulation and coordination of movement, posture, and balance.

The cerebellum is assumed to be much older than the cerebrum, evolutionarily. What do I mean by this? In other words, animals which scientists assume to have evolved prior to humans, for example reptiles, do have developed cerebellums. However, reptiles do not have neocortex.

Limbic System

The limbic system, often referred to as the “emotional brain”, is found buried within the cerebrum. Like the cerebellum, evolutionarily the structure is rather old.

This system contains the thalamus, hypothalamus, amygdala, and hippocampus. Here is a visual representation of this system, from a midsagittal view of the human brain

Thalamus
It is sort of a relay station to parts of the brain. This controls information.

Thalamus- a large mass of gray matter deeply situated in the forebrain at the topmost portion of the diencephalon. The structure has sensory and motor functions. Almost all sensory information enters this structure where neurons send that information to the overlying cortex. Axons from every sensory system (except olfaction) synapse here as the last relay site before the information reaches the cerebral cortex

Hypothalamus

This adjusts the body to keep it optimally adapted to the environment, plus also long tem memory.
Hypothalamus- part of the diencephalon, ventral to the thalamus. The structure is involved in functions including homeostasis, emotion, thirst, hunger, circadian rhythms, and control of the autonomic nervous system. In addition, it controls the pituitary.

Amygdala
Amygdala- part of the telencephalon, located in the temporal lobe; involved in memory, emotion, and fear. The amygdala is both large and just beneath the surface of the front, medial part of the temporal lobe where it causes the bulge on the surface called the uncus. This is a component of the limbic system.

Hippocampus
Hippocampus- the portion of the cerebral hemisphers in basal medial part of the temporal lobe. This part of the brain is important for learning and memory . . . for converting short term memory to more permanent memory, and for recalling spatial relationships in the world about us a coronal view of the hippocampus.

This blog is only a over view, it does not go into all area’s of the brain otherwise the blog would be 100’s if not 1000’s of pages long!!!!!

I hope it made your brain think a little deep than before !

Please Note: I am not trained in neuroscience, this is what I have read and studied.

Regards

Adam Cowming


Communication

Communication

May 31, 2012

Communication is an important if not the most important thing I do in my job as a therapist, there are things I hear someone say  that without my training I probably wouldn’t have  been aware of  before hand. So I thought I would tell you about them and then you can listen to people and become a better communicator.

Is there someone who you just don’t seem to click with or get on with but you wish you did?

Have you even thought that your language maybe slightly different, that they may speak using  different words to you? Yes everyone uses different words but did you know that people use Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic phrases in their everyday language and that they probably don’t even know it either?

This is what we call “Sub-Modalities in Language”, have you ever heard of this before?

Here are some examples of the language:

Visual

See, Look, View, Show, Clear, Appear, Focussed.

“You never see what I am saying to you”

Auditory

Hear, Listen, Tune in, All ears, Be heard, Rings a bell, Sound, Silence

“I hear what you are saying”

Kinaesthetic

Feel, Touch, Catch on, Hard, Get hold of, Tap into, Turn around, Unfeeling

“I feel you don’t understand me”

People are generally one of the above in their main language but will and can use a bit of everything, but as you listen to the person you will hear which they mainly use, try it!

I also listen out for the words I, Me, Self, You?

Here is an example of what I mean “I hate myself”, so if we look at that statement said “I” being the person hates “self”. I hates self so who is I and who is self?

There a lots of different thing going on with that statement but without going to deep I will leave to think about it for now.

We all use Metaphor every day in our language and some people don’t even realise they are! Are you one of those people? I know I used them but wasn’t sure why?

Originally, metaphor was a Greek word meaning “transfer”. The Greek etymology is from meta, implying “a change” and pherein meaning “to bear, or carry”. Thus, the word metaphor itself has a metaphorical meaning in English, “a transfer of meaning from one thing to another”.  So the word metaphor is a metaphor within itself.

Amusingly, in Modern Greek the word metaphor is used to refer to a cart or trolley; thus visitors to Greek airports will find themselves using metaphors to carry their luggage.

We all use them but because we don’t notice, this means we use them unconsciously this is why understanding how to use metaphor is so important as a therapist. I went on a workshop with Andrew T Austin called Metaphors of Movement which really opened my ears to another form of communication that is so powerful and a great tool to use.

With this tool I can help the client explore the metaphor and help them to solve the problem in an easy and powerful way.

What sort of metaphor can a client use?  Here is a few  examples “I feel like I’m in a big hole”, “I can’t seem to move forward”,” It’s like I’m banging my head against a wall”, “ I just can’t get over it”, so I have learned how to engage the client at a physiological and neurological level

Here is how it works

Example of the problem = What happens

Emotional response to the problem = How we feel about what happens

The consequences on the problem = The effect of what happens

The diagnosis of the problem = What we call it

I often find after exploring the metaphor more with the client they begin to see the problem in a different way and after some helping and suggestions the client can see the solution themselves. I never put words into the clients experience but suggest various phrases relevant to the clients metaphor.

I love doing this kind of therapy because the result are often very profound and powerful in helping the client move on with their life or a situation that has in some way held them back .

I hope you enjoyed reading this and it has helped you to understand the verbal communication we all use every day, when we start to listen more closely then we can really hear what the other person may or may not be saying.

If would like to learn these skills for yourself then I would advise anyone to go where I went. Nick Davies owns and runs the Warwickshire School of Hypnotherapy and is an excellent trainer. www.WSOH.co.uk

Thank you  for reading my blog.

Adam Cowming

blhypno@yahoo.co.uk

www.blhypnotherapy.co.uk


The Phantom Limb

The Phantom Limb

First publish on March 17, 2012

Hi, my name is Adam Cowming and I’m a fully qualified hypnotherapist and this is my blog to tell you about some of the cases I have seen and people I’ve helped. I hope it will help other therapists and people who are interested in the power of the mind.

My Dads cousin Ken has been suffering from Phantom limb pain and asked for my help so of course being family I said yes.  So what is a Phantom limb? A phantom limb is the result of a limb that has been amputated. The person still feels the limb and in this case, pain in the limb. It’s important to first find if the (Phantom) limb is O.K. and not for example twisted in an odd position. If it is mirror therapy can be very effective in some cases. Mirror therapy has been widely used in the USA to great affect but still not so well know in the U.K with results being disappointing but I believe more research is being done by V. S. Ramachandran and D. Rogers-Ramachandran who are brilliant neurologists. Also the results are based on information Ken was told by the doctors in NHS cases and not private practices. The more we understand the better the science, theory and  technique will develop.

Here is a link to a series of lectures on BBC Radio 4 on the subject

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00ghvck

Ken had some pain in his limb and wanted to try hypnotherapy.

Here is how the session went. I’ve only outlined the important parts of the session to make it easier to read.

I first did a very gentle induction and deepener to relax Ken and also to allow the unconscious part of his mind to come forward. I also set up a safe anchor in case of any abreaction. I decided to use a technique called parts therapy to start with.  Parts therapy basically allows me to speak direct to the part of the unconscious mind that controls the limb. I set up a signal on each hand, a finger for yes and a finger for no (ideo – motor finger signals), so the unconscious part of the mind could communicate with me by lifting or moving the fingers. Always allow the mind to choose which and fingers to use, never force your will on it.

I asked the “Part” if it knew the leg had been amputated and was no longer there, it moved the finger for no. This what I hoped would happen as my thoughts on it were that maybe the “Part” was still doing its job because the old limb had  lost the blood circulation, so I think it may be trying to heal the leg as it was before it was amputated and needed updating to acknowledge the limb has gone and give the part a new job. I think the part maybe still doing its job because the old limb had a blood clot, so I think it may be trying to heal the leg as it was before it was amputated and needs updating to acknowledge the limb has gone and give the part a new job

I then asked if it would like some new information I had for in concerning the limb, it signalled yes. I told the part the leg was now missing and that if it would like to continue to help Ken I have a more important job for it to do, again it signalled yes it was happy to take on this new job.

I first wanted the “Part” to see the limb had gone. I had asked Ken to take his prosthetic leg off before the start of the session. I told the part that I was going to count to 3 and on 3 I want it to open Ken’s eyes and see that the limb had been amputated and was not longer there. So on 3 Ken opened his eyes and I asked the part to look to where the leg had been amputated, I then asked for the part to close the eyes and take on this new information. I asked if the part now understood the leg had gone and again it said yes.

Now in hypnosis we call it fractionation when you get the person to open their eyes then to close them and the reason for this is person goes deeper into hypnosis but that is not what happened to Ken as the he didn’t consciously open his eyes but the unconscious “Part” did and he was not aware of that during or after the session and was surprised when I explained what had happened. After Ken closed his eyes I again asked the “Part” if it saw the leg had gone and now understood that there was no need for any pain in a leg that wasn’t there. It signaled yes again.

The idea to open the eyes had come from a discussion I had with Nick Davies who trained me to be a hypnotherapist (www.wsoh.co.uk) and we both thought it was a great idea if not a little different, we were both unsure if it would work but after the session Ken said he didn’t have any knowledge of his eyes opening during the session. So the part saw the missing leg not the conscious mind of Ken, it was a great move!!!

I then gave the part a new job of stopping any future pain to the phantom limb to which the part said it was happy to take on this new role, again also saying that if the body needs Ken to look at the leg that is still there and healthy to let him know because pain is the bodies natural signal that something is wrong so I don’t want to stop that happening. It also agreed to this.

I then told Ken I was going to lift his arm out in front of him (arm catalepsy) and for the arm to support itself. I then asked the unconscious part to go and update itself with all the new information and when it had successfully done this to allow the arm to drop nice and gently back into Ken’s lap, this took around about 30 seconds.

I then did some basic pain relieve with him and anchored a imaginary pain controller on his hand by squeezing his thumb and finger together so his body would release a natural and safe dose of pain relief. I also told him that to have this controller was a great responsibility not to be miss used and only to be used when it is necessary .

I then bought Ken out of trance, he said he felt wonderfully relax and that he know the limb somehow felt different.

I advised Ken to now go back to his GP and explain that he had under gone a Hypnotherapy session using the “Parts Therapy Technique” and that we were confident the brain has now all the new information it needs. I have also agreed to be contacted by the GP if she has any questions about the session. Ken said he now wanted to reduce the pain killers he was on WITH the GP advice and guidance to see if the pain had gone. I will wait for the results from Ken and keep you updated to his progress on this journey but from a personal point of view I am confident that I have helped Ken remove all of the problems he had.

I hope you enjoyed and learnt a little from this post and I will continue to write and tell you about the interesting cases and also about the different therapies I use for different things

I was waiting before writing this to find out how effective the session has been for Ken and I’m please to report the following that Ken is very please with the progress so far.

Note from Ken “Pleased to report definitely some improvement this week with the phantom problem so will see what happens next week and will let you know”

To book an appointment please go HERE

Adam Cowming CPNLP,CMH ,HPD

Beautiful Life Hypnotherapy