Many people often wonder what hypnosis actually is and of course it’s a question I hear quite often. Firstly, forget about what you’ve seen on television. It’s very different and yes you are in complete control!
Hypnosis is a very natural phenomenon that is experienced by each and every one of us. We go into trance when we watch television, when we drive, when we converse; in fact we go into trance in almost everything we do. This trance state is what Solution Focused Hypnosis attempts to recreate. When we are in this trance state we find that the brain functions far more effectively than when we are consciously aware and we know this by the objective observations made through MRI scanning.
Have you ever forgotten a persons name and then suddenly remembered when your mind was elsewhere?
It is a fact that we tend to come up with the solutions to our problems when we are in this trance state.
I first discovered my passion for human behaviour when I read the wonderful book ‘Body Language: How to Read Others’ Thoughts by their Gestures‘ by Allan Pease. It was soon after that I realised what I wanted to do in my life and as such I enrolled with The Open University to study for my degree in Psychology. After completing my degree I joined The Clifton Practice in Bristol to study clinical Solution Focused Hypnotherapy and after just a year, I qualified as a clinical Psychotherapist. This enabled me to set up my own business; Edward Attridge Hypnosis, a practice that employs a Solution Focused perspective to help people overcome their mental health problems and this has now been running successfully for nearly two years.
Clients come to me for all sorts of problems, although anxiety and phobias tend to be the most common and are arguably the easiest to resolve. I help my clients overcome their depression or anxieties by allowing them to seek solutions to their problems. By using semi-structured questions I am able to help the client see their problems from a different perspective; helping to resolve the issues by accessing the subconscious mind.
What makes humans unique amongst other animals is that we have an intellectual mind; a mind that is attached to a vast intellectual resource. When we operate from this area we can come up with the solutions to our problems and approach new situations in a calm and relaxed way. How we use this part of the brain depends greatly on how positively we act, interact and think. When we achieve these positive actions we produce the chemicals that make us happy; serotonin and dopamine. When we are in a hypnotic state we are able to encourage the use of the intellectual mind with the use of positive suggestions, which helps in treating depression and anxiety.
When we operate from the intellectual mind we don’t get depressed and we don’t experience anxiety.
Anxiety and phobic responses are very similar in that they produce high levels of adrenaline, causing panic attacks, increased heart rate, sweating and nausea. The obvious response in these situations is to run away and hide somewhere and of course this response is perfectly normal and extremely common. When we experience anxiety our primitive brain, known as the limbic system, takes control.
The primitive brain is very important and consists of three major parts:
Amygdala – The area that causes us to run away when the brain perceives a potential threat. We call this part the fight or flight, freeze response. This area is extremely important as it has enabled the human race to survive for many thousands of years.
Hippocampus – The area known to hold our negative thoughts and feelings
Hypothalamus – The area that regulates the chemical responses in the mind and body.
When we experience or even just think of a situation that we perceive as threatening, the fight or flight, freeze response kicks in. This response then sends signals to the Hypothalamus, which in turn produces large quantities of adrenalin, causing us to panic and ultimately run away.
Here’s an example of a client (name has been changed), who experienced such symptoms:
Jenny came to me because she suffered severe anxiety. She would often have the extreme urge to use the toilet everywhere she went. Jenny had suffered from this condition for almost twenty years and of course this had lead to depression. Jenny couldn’t go anywhere without knowing exactly where the toilets were and the unusual thing was that even if she did find a toilet she still couldn’t go. It got to the stage where she wouldn’t go out except to take and collect the children from school.
Jenny came to me to see if I could help.
After eliminating all other possibilities I came to the conclusion that she was experiencing a phobia known as Paruresis (fear of urinating in public places), a psychological condition that is exacerbated through high levels of anxiety. In Jenny’s case she would often create the anxiety through negative thinking (hippocampus) and would turn friends away who had invited her out simply because she thought that if she went she would suffer panic attacks. The more Jenny worried, the more anxiety causing chemicals she produced, namely adrenaline. This in turn produced the fight or flight, freeze response and caused Jenny to stay at home.
What Jenny was experiencing is something we call the ‘negative feed-back loop’ and is something that can be experienced in all forms of depression and anxiety. It is where negative thinking produces anxiety and the anxiety encourages negative thinking creating a paradox of negativity.
In order to help Jenny I used a method called the Rewind and Reframing Technique; a technique developed in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). The technique requires the client to recall the earliest or most significant memory of extreme anxiety in which she suffered the associated symptoms. In order for this technique to be successful it was important for Jenny to recall the event in as much detail as possible. The technique attempts to remove the negative template of the event and reduce the emotional attachment with that memory, all while Jenny was in a relaxed hypnotic state.
After only three sessions Jenny was able to go out, with reduced fear and anxiety!
By removing the anxiety associated with the memory, the past events become just a memory but without the usual feelings of anxiety. So, when Jenny decided to go out with her friends she experienced reduced feelings of anxiety and therefore wouldn’t feel the need to use the toilet. In response to this, Jenny now produced the happy chemicals, serotonin and dopamine, which in turn produced a positive behavioural response, or positive feedback loop, in contrast to the negative feedback loop and thus gave Jenny a far greater confidence. Eventually, after some time, the memory itself gradually disappeared.
Removing fear and anxiety is a very rewarding part of my job and I get complete satisfaction in helping people lead a normal stress free life. But hypnosis isn’t just great for anxiety and phobic responses; hypnosis is also very effective in:
There is a slight misconception associated with hypnosis and weight loss. Many people believe that hypnosis alone is the answer to their weight loss, but this isn’t the case. Hypnosis won’t make the pounds drop off automatically, but it can help you change the way you think, the way you perceive eating and food, help you make the right choices and help build up your confidence.
Skin disorders (eczema, acne etc.)
Skin disorders come in many forms and of course there are a lot treatments out there for them however, what a lot of people don’t realise is that skin conditions can be exacerbated through stress. We yet again find ourselves in the grip of the negative feedback loop; stress exacerbates the skin condition, the skin condition encourages stress.
Confidence and Depression
Hypnosis can help enormously with confidence, as it can help encourage the body’s natural feel good chemicals; serotonin and dopamine. These chemicals are vital in our ability to function in a positive way and can have tremendous benefits to our physical health too.
Pain is something we live with; it is obviously important otherwise we would never know there was a problem, however pain can be very annoying and can lead to depression. What many people don’t realise is that pain is subjective. In basic terms, pain is messages sent from one location, through the spinal cord, to the brain. At the back of the spinal cord we find what is known as the ‘pain gateway’ and when we are in a hypnotic state we can actually switch this area off, reducing or even stopping any sensation of pain.
Take a look at what some of my past clients have said about my services…
“An enlightening experience that has helped get my anger problems under control. I would highly recommend Edward Attridge Hypnosis for anyone who suffers from depression and anxiety”
“Edward really helped me with some anxiety related issues that I had. Every day I am getting more and more relaxed and less anxious. I would highly recommend Edward I felt at ease straight away and is very knowledgeable on mental health and can easily explain the theories behind his practices, in a way I could easily comprehend”
“I haven’t felt so relaxed for years! I would highly recommend Edward Attridge Hypnosis”
“Since having treatment for anxiety and public speaking I can now present to people without any fear or anxiety. I have also noticed how positively I approach each situation now, when I would normally start to panic. What is also great is that people have noticed a difference in me and how well I present to a large number of people. I would highly recommend Edward Attridge Hypnosis if you suffer from anxiety and public speaking”
If you suffer from anxiety or any of these conditions or perhaps you would like to enquire more about hypnosis, then please contact me on:
or visit my website: