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Guest Blog: Laura Chapman. Solution Focused Clinical Hypnotherapist.

Early this year I invited Laura to do a guest group session as part of my Project Me Programme I was running at the time. I often refer client's to her for advise but the way she explained how our brains work and process behaviours made so much sense. So, I asked her to write it down because I think a lot of people will find it both insightful and interesting. Thank you Laura.

The 2 main parts of the brain that we focus on in solution focused hypnotherapy are the 'intellectual mind' and the 'primitive mind'.

The intellectual mind is logical, rational, sensible and positive. It's good at finding solutions and decision making. The primitive brain is the part that's essential for our survival, it's negative and it's emotional. It is wired to flight, fight or freeze in the event of a threat to life, and it also likes to operate based on previous patterns of behaviour. Whatever you did yesterday kept you alive so why not do it again today? This includes unhelpful and unhealthy habits- remember the primitive brain isn't logical and doesn't think long term!

In solution focused hypnotherapy we use the metaphor of the 'stress bucket'. This is where all of our negative thinking is stored, things we dwell on from the past and things that we worry about that will never even happen. When our bucket reaches our limit, (we're doing too much negative thinking) we lose control from the logical intellectual mind and start operating from the negative emotional mind. This part of the brain reverts to the primitive parameters of depression, anxiety and anger. These are all ways to keep ourselves safe- depression is us pulling the rug over our heads and hiding away from the world. anxiety is living on red alert ready to press the panic button, and anger is the primitive way of defending ourselves.

Luckily, we do empty out our stress buckets at night when we're asleep, during our REM pattern. What also helps is what we refer to as the '3 P's'.

Positive activity, positive interaction and positive thinking. All of these get us producing serotonin which makes us feel good!

Positive activity is anything you enjoy, and if it's exercise; even better. If you could put exercise into a pill it would be the most expensive pill on the planet! The endorphins and feel good chemicals we get from exercise are immense- have you ever regretted a workout?!

It’s got to be something you enjoy though, if you hate the gym then there’s no point in forcing yourself to go as it’s then not a positive activity. Any movement of your body will do the job!

Positive interaction is talking to people. You may have noticed you feel good after you've been out and seen people or had a chat on the phone. Positive thinking can be a little trickier- unfortunately our brains produce more negative thoughts than positive! By asking clients each time I see them "What's been good?" starts to get them to focus on the positives rather than dwelling on the things that haven't been so good. Gratitude diaries and journalling use the same concept.

Sometimes we can fall into the ‘dopamine trap’ where we get hooked on a feel good quick fix.. food! Your brain remembers that a bar of chocolate made you feel better temporarily last time you were bored/fedup/unmotivated and the habit becomes hardwired. Of course this isn’t a long term feel good fix, you soon start beating yourself up and fill up that stress bucket.

We can all sometimes use food to comfort us- there’s nothing wrong with a hot meal on a cold and rainy day or some snacks you enjoy with a film. For some however it can become a problem they feel powerless to change; in which case the more of those 3 P’s you can do instead of using food as a mood lifter the better.

The aim of hypnotherapy is to retrain your brain to limit what we are piling in our stress buckets, do more of those things that make us feel good and spend more time using the intellectual mind where we are coping with life in the way we want to and making good decisions we feel pleased with.

Laura Chapman

Solution Focused Clinical Hypnotherapist

Laura Chapman Hypnotherapy

T: 01626 683613

M: 07813358547

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