The Curse of Depression

Low Mood

We’ve all experienced days when we have low mood, feeling a bit down. Sometimes it could last for two to three days leaving us feeling flat and out of sorts. Then, all of a sudden it lifts and we’re back to our old selves.

Everyday life clutter/frustrations

Everyday life and environment situations can cause these low moods and this can be due to weather, disharmony in our relationships of varying kinds, pressure of work, poor health, lack of sleep and boredom, feeling a lack of direction.  When these things are reasonably short lived, our moods return to normal.

Living with depression

When something difficult becomes ongoing, it may cause stress and then anxiety. Left untreated with the situation becoming a burden, this can escalate into depression. There are two common symptoms that people feel when in the throws of depression and they are the feelings of isolation and depleted energy levels. People often speak of the misery of stolen energy and pushing people away due to feeling we’re running on empty and totally isolated. They often report wearing the mask of normality, as they try to continue with their daily lives. This in turn depletes even more energy. Treatment for depression looks at exploring the root causes and finding the right resolution and self-management. There are several different types of depression.

When we’re depressed the negative thought patterns that accompany depression and become very dark – hence the term being in a dark place.  The body also can suffer due to replication of negative cell structures instead of positive cell structures. Our immune systems can lower, leaving us vulnerable.

Carrying Burdens

Now we’re carrying burdens. Some of these we could let go, to improve the energy levels and help co-regulate the neurotransmitters between the brain and nervous systems. Attempting this to ease the of feeling of being trapped or stuck in our heads can help, because to stay stuck only drags out the condition of depression.

Agoraphobia – Causes and development

what is Agoraphobia?

There are dozens of phobias within our society. Some phobias are deemed ‘ok’ as they are of an inbuilt protection mechanism. Most of us would not seek the company of rats or snakes, as they can be harmful, if not lethal. With other phobias we can find a solution e.g. stairs instead of the lift, therefore some phobias do not impinge on our overall well-being. However, when a phobia does dictate how we live our lives, then it’s a sure sign that we need to act.

A great many people have found hypnotherapy, NLP, EMDR and counselling to overcome their phobias and lead a fuller life. Some phobia’s, however, are far more debilitating than others, such as agoraphobia.

Causes

Agoraphobia can start as a mild form of avoidance and if not treated can escalate into full blown agoraphobia.  It is an anxiety disorder in which a person is distressed by settings in which there is no easily perceived means of escape. An agoraphobic avoids certain social situations, large or open areas and public places where it would be difficult to hide. In some case’s agoraphobia debilitates someone to a point at which they cannot leave home.

Any situation unfamiliar to the agoraphobic becomes a potential source of fear or anxiety. This usually arises from panic attacks, which some believe stems from traumatic early life experiences. Traumatic events can disrupt learning and memories, causing depersonalisation and other methods of blocking out anxiety.  Hypnotherapy combined with psychotherapy has been proven to produce long acting beneficial results when the root cause is to be found in the yearly developing years.

How does Agoraphobia develop?

The causes of agoraphobia, like most mental disorders, are not definitive. Still, some experts have theorised that besides stressful and traumatic events, other anxiety disorders and substance abuse may also contribute. Many patients have also been diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), post traumatic stress disorder and separation anxiety disorder paired with agoraphobia.

Women may suffer from this condition more than men because of social-cultural factors that encourage avoidant coping strategies. Other theories have posited that more women may seemingly suffer from the condition simply because more of them are willing to seek help.

Thoughts stopping sleep – Causes and Solutions

Many of us have a problem switching off from thoughts late in the evening or at bedtime. As an example we worry and ponder about our work situations and work load, personal relationships and families and our thought processes go round and round in circles, achieving nothing but a state of frustration.

The brain – An optimal environment

 The brain enjoys a balance of routine, creativity and recreation and works at its best optimum, when it has variety. Intrusive thoughts around the same problems causes the brain to become increasing bored and not forth coming with good constructive solutions, especially when these thoughts become a habit and concentration levels drop, leaving us feeling tired in the day and disturbing our sleep patterns at night.

So how can we stop this happening at night and bedtime and induce restful, quality sleep, so that our mind & body feels properly restored and alert in the mornings.

Solutions

To begin with, the mind requires at least two hours wind down time to prepare for sleep.  This means not eating heavy meals, drinking caffeine drinks or alcohol during that time.

Don’t play computer games, as you speed up the brain or increase adrenaline with dance music. Be mindful of the types of programmes that you watch on TV, in other words, no programmes that upset you and the same applies if you watch TV in bed.

When we’re in bed our mind & body responds best to peaceful darkness and you could turn any glowing lights from appliances towards a wall or away from you.

The power of imagination

As the brain loves to use its imagination, reading a book before sleep is always a good idea and helps us to become sleepy.  When you do turn off your light to go to sleep, remember this is your personal special time (when you don’t need to share your time with anyone or anything else, once those eyes close) just for you to escape into your own world.  The brain also loves escapism into the realms of fantasy, it’s unlimited imagination can really let loose, it’s like giving the brain a good mental massage.

Before you know it, it will be morning.  I wonder what you will think about? You can choose to own this special time and make it your own habit when you close your eyes in bed at night and shut out the rest of the world, whilst you recharge yourself.

Analysis of Dreams – A deeper look

The following Dreams Analysis was emailed in by TG from Leeds.

Context

TG: Last night’s dream was a strange one, I was in an old market where people I have known in the past are all around selling sweets on different stalls. I was with someone I’m not in contact with anymore and then it jumps to me talking to a little boy trying to get him to find his school trousers because he was wearing girl’s school trousers with frilled pockets. I was getting frustrated as he would not accept that he was wearing the wrong trousers…it’s weird as I rarely remember my dreams but lately bits of dreams come to me throughout the day. 

My dream doesn’t seem to have a beginning or an end as such, I just know that I am in that state where I am not quite in deep sleep yet, the half and half state sort of thing and then the knocking begins, about 6 very loud knocks in my ear, the sound vibrates through my head but doesn’t wake me fully up. All the things that happen in my dreams are trying to wake me, the tapping on my shoulder comes after the knocking and then sometimes I will hear a voice calling my name over and over. Then I awoke.

Analysis

 Me: An old place you recognize sweets – pleasure, carefree treats, friends – little boy whose getting it wrong or is not coordinated, doesn’t care what he looks like or prefers the company of girls – does this remind you of anyone?  Who have you heard or read about recently who knows someone you used to hang out with as a kid – your pleasure seems to be interrupted by having to see to this boy, when your dream jumps to him.  How does this relate to your recent life?

You appear to be dozing but are you giving yourself permission to rest, relax take time out to slumber? Or waiting for something or someone to disturb you or maybe not looking forward to the following day?  Do you feel guilty for taking time out for yourself?  Is there stuff you should be getting on with or are you under environmental pressure i.e. work colleagues or people / family?  What’s the worst can happen if you ignore that knocking, tapping and voice and allow yourself to fall into a deep sleep  – what fears and anxieties would that highlight?

Context

TG: I recognise the market place but only from another dream, its old fashioned, 19th century style (I have been watching Murdoch Mysteries series set in the same century) The person I was with was a friend in the past, someone who I used to think I could trust but who slated me to other people and was a bit of a snake.

I agree that I do not really allow myself to fall into a deep sleep any longer (once my partner is awake in the morning he will cuddle up to me in bed talking to me whilst I am semi asleep and then potters around and comes in and out the bedroom etc. until finally I give up sleeping and I am fully awake). But on the other hand if my partner is out early in the morning, I am still just dozing because I am listening out for the dog moving about on the wooden floor waiting to be let out or fed…..or….I am expecting my mom to come knocking the door because she has not heard from me and is worried. Either way I just can’t allow myself to relax, completely.

 I do feel guilty in a way for sleeping in as I know that I am not at work at the moment and feel idle…as though I should be up doing something productive (Especially when my partner is working, I felt as though he is working so I should be making sure the house is in order for when he gets back). I might subconsciously associate the calling of my name with danger as the first time I recall it happening I was falling asleep whilst in the bath and the voice calling my name was that of my late Nan’s, my chin had just begun to touch the water when I suddenly woke alarmed.

When I first moved into this house 4 years ago with my ex, I gave mom and dad a spare key in case I got locked out, one morning we had both slept in, which is why I had not phoned my mom and I awoke to my Dad standing at the side of my bed with a glass of orange juice, mom sent him around to see if I was okay. My partner recently left the door open when he went out and Dad came in calling my name, I was in bed and startled me again.  

In relation to this little boy, my partner told me I was controlling during a row we had because I can’t allow myself to let him do DIY alone. I have to be there to make sure it’s done right, this I get from my mom. My mom has specific ways of doing things, she used to sit and watch me colour as a child…telling me I must stay in the lines etc. If what my partner does is not right, mom will inspect it (like she does my house and my cleaning every time she visits) and I will get the numerous questions about it when my partner isn’t around. Mom will ask me in a very particular way though, first saying “Do you think this might look better” or “This would have been a better way of doing this.” as though she is trying to push me into doing it how she thinks it should be done but not saying it outright.  This little boy wearing the girl’s trousers is part of this equation…I simply can’t stand that he is wearing girl’s trousers and refuses to believe they are for little girls…it’s the controlling part of me which can’t get past it.

Final Analysis

Me: There is frustration and guilt in this dream and overall TG feels a lack of control in her life due to family childhood conditioning and has a deep desire to feel free to run her own life, however, feels she cannot explain her frustrations to her mother as she fears feeling guilty of going against her Mum or challenging Mum. This is against her deep rooted self- belief system. I do apologise TG but Mum does come across as a wee bit demanding and I wonder if Mum even realises it?

This is the final installment of our dream discussions. Should you wish to explore the previous discussions they are linked in order here. ( 1, 2, 3, 4 )

The Waking and Dream states

When trying to sleep, we fluctuate between the waking and dream states. This blog post explores these states and provides some insight into them.

The waking and dream states – A comparison

In our waking state we are fully conscious, using the conscious mind to make decisions where we employ logic and reasoning. For example, if we walk down a corridor looking for a particular person in one of the rooms, we ourselves will decide which room to enter to find them. If it’s the wrong room that we enter, we simply leave and choose which door to try next.

in our dream state, however, is where the conscious mind is at rest. The unconscious is working solo and it does not understand logic or reason. What’s at work here is the filing cabinet of our memory and experiences (hippocampus) and the emotional control centre (amygdala). Both are house and connected together. The waking state and dream state are in complete contradiction to each other. The dream state is chaotic and surreal. Both states exist entirely separately. We may as well be in parallel universes.

The dream state – A deeper look

The dream state borrows its dream material from the conscious state of what we have already experienced. It cannot detach itself from that reality. When we dream, what we experience in the dream state is the combination of the filing cabinet experiences of our lives and the emotions which attach themselves to those memories. Let’s say it’s like a partnership between the two, i.e. what we feel in our dreams depends on what memory we are visualizing and this will evoke an accompanying emotional response, without any logic. It appears in a bizarre and confusing format not of our understanding.

The waking state – Dream recollection

When back in the waking state, it can be hard to recall all the dream. The knowledge is often fragmented and unclear. We can look at them as jigsaw pieces scattered to the wind, leaving us thinking “what was that all about”.  The selection of the dream material is usually random daily occurrences of little significance. These, none the less, attach themselves to the more in-depth cerebral cells, which carry our heavier weight experiences from the past. Working out the dream from the symbolic snapshots and accompanying emotional feelings takes some investigative work to understand. 

Last week’s dream, for example, highlighted a repressed emotion of fear by being chased in a hay field by an angry farmer. The long forgotten childhood memory of the experience was triggered by seeing a haystack in a field whilst driving in the countryside.

Freud’s Dream Psychology

Sigmund Freud argued that repressed emotions, sometimes as far back as childhood can manifest themselves in dreams, even years later. During the Victorian era is when we discovered that our emotions are evolved physical responses. They are affected by our unconscious minds.

Next week, we will explore another dream and analyse the interpretation of it.

Rationalising dreams – A dream analysis

In this post we explore and discuss an individuals unusual dream. Rationalising dreams means we will break down the dream into components to gain a understanding of why this dream has occured.

In this dream the dreamer is driving in the country side to visit a friend and sees a small field of haystacks in mid-summer.  Next the dreamer is walking down the steps of a country mansion with the friend, heading towards the parkland.  Then the dreamer notices Prince William and Kate in the parkland surrounded by lots of people and sees the friend amongst them.  When the dreamer looks next to themselves the friend has disappeared and they are on the steps alone.  Then the dreamer looks back towards the parkland and sees that there is nothing there and they are completely alone in a large green field surrounded by giant haystacks, the mansion having disappeared and wakes up feeling scared and overwhelmed.

Reasoning

When asked what the dreamer had been doing recently in their life, where they had been and who they had seen and spoken to recently and about what, the dreamer came back with this information.

The dreamer had been to visit the friend in the dream about four days earlier.  The friend lives in a village in Oxfordshire and they had taken a picnic with them to Blenheim Park for an afternoon out.  They talked about having watched the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton three months earlier in April and how beautiful they thought the ceremony had been.

Now the disjointed snapshots made sense, however where did the haystacks come into it?  When asked, the dreamer came back with this.

Explanation

The dreamer whilst driving in the countryside towards the friend’s house, had noticed some haystacks in a small field. 

Why were they a threat?

When asked why haystacks should pose a threat, the dreamer said that the only circumstances they could relate to was as a child. At about the age of five or six, the dreamer had been playing hide and seek in a field of haystacks with brothers and cousins. They used the haystacks to hide in.  The dreamer spent quite some time in the haystack before hearing angry shouting. Becoming alarmed at this and moving out of the haystack, the whole mound of hay collapsed onto this child.  The dreamer stood up only to see the others running away in the distance and so also started to run. 

Another frightening aspect was that the farmer who gave chase, was closest to her and was shouting that he knew who the kids were and was going to tell the parents. Those parents would have to pay for the damage and that the children would be in serious trouble with the police.

Rationalising

The dreamer had forgotten this childhood experience and now the haystack part of the dream made sense.  The dreamer went on to add that as a recently separated person, there were feelings of abandonment when the children spent weekends with the ex-partner. Despite making an effort to rekindle old friendships they were fearful of what the future may hold and felt the time had come to make new friends.

Our next discussion in the dream series will explore our dream and waking state. There will be comparisons made for us to better understand them.

Negatives of Excessive online Gaming

When we overdo online gaming, there are repercussions in our thought and behaviour patterns.

This can end up effecting us and those we care about and live with.

Here are some of the self-defeating behaviour symptoms’ that indicate your gaming habits has become unhealthy. Both for your mind and body and those around you:

  • Thinking about gaming all or a lot of the time.
  • Feeling irritated when somebody ask to do something which means leaving your game.
  • Feeling bad when you can’t play.
  • Needing to spend more and more time playing to feel good.
  • Not being able to quit or even play less.
  • Feeling guilt as you know deep down your gaming is taking over your life.
  • No longer caring about what or when you eat.
  • Not wanting to do other things that you used to like.
  • Snapping at someone when they point out the changes, they see in you.
  • Having problems at work, school, or home because of your gaming.
  • No longer sleeping deeply and feeling tired much of the waking day.

If these symptoms reflect your reality, it is advisable that you consciously make an effort to find alternatives to gaming that you enjoy. By replacing gaming with an alternative, healthy action you enjoy, it may allow some of the negatives of excessive online gaming to ease.

Part one and two of this discussion can be found (here) and (here)

Gaming and Gambling in Lock-down

Research is telling us that gaming and gambling in lock-down dramatically increased through the pandemic during 2020/2021.

Whilst that may be obvious to most of us, this trend appeared to be across all age groups.  Many people enjoyed playing easy relaxing games to pass the time.

The lockdown gaming Spike

Surprisingly, there seems there was a payoff during the lockdown period where people were at home nearly all the time. Many people stated that it helped make the days shorter and distracted them from the constant negative news of Covid.

Younger individuals in particular, (people under the age of 25) reported feeling a lot happier after playing online games and interacting with other online players. A key reason stated was that it left them feeling less isolated. The gaming in lock-down distracted them from anxiety and worries over what would happen with the Covid pandemic.

gaming and gambling in lock-down

The rise of gaming

The huge take off of online gaming was came with the birth of the internet.

Games have altered during the last two decades to become more interactive and action filled. Competitive games with the integration of other online players introduced the capacity of being able to talk to each other.

In the next installment of our gaming and gambling discussions, we shall delve into the negative impact excessive gaming has on us. Click here for part one of this discussion.

Gaming and Gambling today

What are the differences and similarities:

Gambling is as old as the start of civilisation and is a wager where anything of use or desire can be won. It evolved into casino’s, slots and racing amongst other things. These days it has a huge online presence.

Gaming evolved with competitions such as football pools and bingo halls initially among others but again we’re looking at the modern online presence. It finds it home now mostly in software programmes.

Similarities include:

  • Exciting graphics
  • sound effects and different jingles that stimulate our sensory perceptions. 
  • They create highs and lows, or a feeling of disappointment
  • At times even deep frustration and a sense of high achievement following the chase and perseverance for a winning game.

The differences between gambling and gaming.

Gambling is often about the big life changing win but also finding the wins to pay gambling debts to keep even (chasing the losses).  With gambling, huge amounts of money are lost, sometimes homes repossessed. Traditional gambling is also a social engagement with like-minded people, whilst out and about with lots of human interaction. Gamblers will spend money they haven’t got and sometimes use other people’s money via deceit.

Gaming on the other hand, encourages the payment top ups to have extra tools for completing levels – usually not large amounts but regularly done it all mounts up. Gaming is socially engaging, in as much as gamers will talk to each other online during a game. Professional gamers will spend time promoting games on social media or at conventions and engage in little about life in general. Gaming overall is an isolating pastime.

The follow up to this will be looking into gaming and gambling during the Covid lockdown periods.

Where do dreams come from?

Dreams Part 2

Where do our dreams come from?  It’s an interesting question. 

Let’s start with some neuroscience. In a part of our brain called the Limbic System, we have an area which contains all our long term memories, called the “hippocampus”. After all we need a storage system for our vast memories and experiences. Like an endless filling cabinet, we can’t carry all our vast memory systems and experiences around with us in the foremost of our minds on a day to day basis.  Therefore we store them in our filling cabinet. 

It processes almost thirty billion bytes of data per second and it records all our significant experiences that we have, from the time of our birth to our final breath.  The filling cabinet doesn’t recognise logic or reasoning but has its own language.  It recognises – sight, sound, touch, taste, smell and instinct, in other words, it relies on our sensory perceptions. 

Perception.

Let’s just run a bit further with this. Suppose we’re chatting and a fly passes by us, are we really going to bat an eyelid? After all, a simple fly is quite harmless; it possess no threat, so we wave it away and carry on chatting.  Now, let’s suppose it’s a wasp; now this becomes a potential threat, as a wasp can sting us and cause a reactive pain.  Our audio hearing perceives this threat through our hearing, so we’ll stop talking and look around to see where the threat is.  This is the learnt and conditioned information putting us on high alert and so we react accordingly. 

The same applies with the threat of potential aggression or risk of attack, we react accordingly.  We’ll either remove ourselves from the threat or confront it (flight or fight).  Our sensory perceptions are working for us at an unconscious and conscious level.  A foul smell or taste we don’t like can have us wrinkling our noses or even gagging; a gut feeling can tell us that something is not right.

We’re collecting and gathering files in our filling cabinet and our environmental existence contributes mostly to this.  It forms a blueprint as to how we see and evaluate our internal world about ourselves, as well as the safety of our external world.  In other words, we become shaped by the filling cabinet, good and not so good experiences.  It’s from these file snap shots that our dreams come, randomly all mixed up according to what happening in our lives in the present as well as the past. 

Understanding the connection.

Connected to this integrated function and next to the filling cabinet (hippocampus) is the amygdala, which is involved in processing emotions and fear-learning.  It links areas of the cortex that process higher cognitive information with hypothalamic and brainstem systems that control lower metabolic responses (e.g. touch, pain, sensitivity and respiration).  This allows the amygdala to coordinate physiological responses based on cognitive information. 

If we experience a frightening dream, our body will also react automatically with symptoms such as;

  • rapid heart rate,
  • dry mouth
  • perspiration

This is why we can awaken from a bad dream feeling emotionally overwhelmed or a happy dream only to realise that we are chuckling with laughter.

Next time we’ll explore a weird dream and give it a rational meaning.

Dreams, The Labyrinth of the Unconscious Realm

Dreams part 1

Our dreams come to us from the unconscious part of the mind and speak to us of our hidden fears and desires           

            Many therapists will tell you when working with clients, one of the most common statements made at the start of many a session is “I had the strangest dream the other night” or “I’ve been having really weird dreams lately about ………..” It teaches and shows us that dreams are a large part of the therapeutic process and that therapy has already stated to work well for the client.  If we were to take the view that dreams are snippets of mumbo jumbo, let’s dispel this myth right now and instead ask this question. Why does there always seemed to be a connection between some part of a person’s dream and the issues they encounter in their waking life, before the dream? 

Why do we use the very old term of “Follow your dreams”? 

This is because we know that one of the functions of dreams is to express our desires and gratifications. This is emphasised in the ones we feel too embarrassed to admit to ourselves.  Likewise dreams can also mask our deeper fears and anxieties at a level we can’t even begin to fathom.  Something too horrible to contemplate or too horrific to remember, or something we want to avoid facing up to can become surpressed at a deeper level of the unconscious mind. Past trauma or incident or unhealthy behaviour pattern, begins to manifest itself in the symbolic language of dreams.  Likewise with painful memories, our dreams can have a way of letting us know upon our waking, that unresolved issues are ready to be dealt with.

Such is the power of our dreams, that they can be disturbing. 

When we experience a nightmare, we are known to thrash about in our beds, shout aloud and sob our hearts out; because of the phenomenal gripping power of a dream.  The first waking moments after a nightmare can leave us feeling emotionally overwhelmed and unbearably vulnerable with a pounding heart, accompanied by perspiration and not really sure of what’s reality or fantasy.  We know that we can be left feeling completely disorientated, desolated and even in the pits of despair.  Whatever terminology people use to describe their dreams, we’ve all experienced them from time to time, the ones that throw us off kilter for a while and the wonderful funny and joyous ones we really don’t want to wake up from.  They are a part of us; they live deep within the bottomless labyrinth of the unconscious mind and psyche.

They speak a perplexing language all of their own in symbols. These can be difficult to fathom and can stir up the most disturbing and pleasant of human emotions. This especially in the ones dreampt in vivid colour.

           

Next time we will be looking at where dreams come from and their symbolic language.

Finding the right therapist for you.

In general, well-established and legitimately practiced brands of therapy (such as cognitive-behavioral, psychodynamic, dialectal-behavioral, or interpersonal therapies) are about equally effective for many problems and many people. However, as an individual, you may feel more comfortable looking for a therapist who practices one type of therapy versus another.

Some therapists are more active than others in initiating topics of conversation. One thing we know from psychotherapy research is that a therapist’s theoretical orientation is often (but not always) a good predictor of this process:

Psychoanalytical/ Psychodynamic therapists

Frequently allow/suggest their patients to take the lead in initiating conversation.

Humanistic therapists

Person centered therapy. Therapist focuses on listening skills and mirroring clients behaviours and habits back to them.

They key

To conclude, the right therapist for you will be one that works at your pace and employs proactive listening skills. This will allow you to express your train of thought and be heard.

Hypnotherapy for Insomnia

The way insomnia works.

People with insomnia often believe that they are “Insomniacs”; i.e. genetically predisposed to insomnia. Nothing can be further from the truth. Every living organism has a dormant period, so sleep is natural, therefore insomnia is unnatural.

In general insomnia is caused by an underlying anxiety which can be about relationships, financial worries, self-esteem issues and many other anxieties. Each client is different. However, by using hypnotherapy for Insomnia we can work out what is going on and resolve the issues at a subconscious level, leading you back to a natural sleep pattern.

Using hypnotherapy for insomnia

 “Nearly 30% of the population has some form of insomnia. Insomnia is nearly always underpinned by anxiety and this anxiety interrupts the normal sleep pattern. This anxiety is what people with insomnia tend to ruminate about whilst attempting to sleep, which is what hypnotherapy for insomnia targets. This rumination generates high levels of anxiety and hence an increased level of alertness within the insomniac and therefore sleep eludes them. Sometimes this anxiety is so low level that the person may not be very aware of it and therefore believes there is no reason for the lack of sleep.”

People with insomnia often have a multitude of problems associated with their sleep disorder. Problems associated with insomnia are:

– Anxiety

– Alcohol abuse

– Health problems

– Fatigue

– Depression

Insomnia often co-exists with other disorders and can be the main factor in the other disorder. For example, someone with depression might have significant sleep disruption. This sleep disruption will cause fatigue which makes it far harder for the person to deal with and resolve their feelings of depression. So, achieving a more natural sleep pattern can significantly help with the depression. This is true with several anxiety disorders.

How can hypnotherapy for insomnia help?

We will help you return to a more normal pattern of sleep by using hypnotherapy to remove any underlying anxiety issues and helping you to get back to a normal sleep routine. Hypnotherapy is extremely effective at teaching you to relax at the appropriate times. So teaching you how to relax before sleep is a significant part of the therapy. Deep relaxation is a pre-cursor to sleep and without it sleep will elude you.

Many patterns of sleep disturbance become embedded in our subconscious mind after many months/years of unsatisfactory sleep.  By using hypnotherapy, clients will experience fast and effective changes.

Hypnotherapy really can help with insomnia. If used properly it is a very effective weapon against the lack of sleep that affects our lives significantly.

Useful Tips Before Entering Therapy

Afraid of opening up or sharing your thoughts in therapy? Here are a few things you can do:

1. Talk to your therapist about the problem.

This may sound silly if the actual problem is talking to your therapist about your problems in the first place. However, one of the factors most strongly and repeatedly linked to improvement in psychotherapy is the quality of the relationship between a patient and therapist. One aspect of a strong psychotherapy relationship is confidence in the collaboration with the therapist. It’s important for patients and their therapists to actively negotiate/collaborate on what they want from therapy and what the expectations/process of the therapy should be. In this process, flexibility in both the patient and the therapist is important as is the ability to maintain a reasonable and boundaried treatment frame.

2. Start a journal.

The act of writing down your thoughts, feelings, and experiences can be incredibly liberating, constructive, and healthful. Like exercise, journaling requires commitment and regularity. Set aside a time and special place for journaling (even if it’s just 5-10 minutes!) and stick to it. Make it your goal to write down whatever thoughts and feelings come into your mind and try not to censor yourself. No thought is too silly or stupid. Lousy handwriting? Who cares! Forget your sixth grade English teacher! The blank page is your space to write what you want, how you want, spelled whatever way you want. No one has to see your writing. You don’t even have to keep it! You can tear it up, trash it, or just hit delete. As you get more into the habit of honoring your time to write down what you think and feel, you’ll get better at it. If writing comes easier to you, you might even consider bringing your journal with you to therapy and using your entries to jump-start the conversation.

3. Practice, practice, practice.

With time, attention, and practice, sharing your voice with others may become easier. This is not an easy process, and in fact, staying silent may be one coping skill you’ve developed over time to keep yourself safe from people like an overcritical parent or a demeaning boss. However, if you get into the practice of opening yourself up in ways that you still feel safe and with people you can trust, you just might be surprised at the results. You may end up feeling more confident, emotionally secure, and in greater control of your life and your relationships.

4. If therapy is broken, fix it.

Therapy is not supposed to be easy. Starting therapy is hard and even if you’ve been in therapy a while, you’re bound to hit rough patches with regularity. In fact, “deep” sessions where you address and work through tough topics and interpersonal conflicts are generally more effective than “smooth” ones which gloss over important or difficult subjects. However, if therapy is a grudging experience week after week, something is wrong. Seen as early as after the first three sessions, the overall quality and strength of the therapeutic relationship is highly predictive of what the quality of the relationship will be throughout the rest of the treatment.

If you have a problem with the therapist or how the therapy is going, in most cases (except those of boundary violation or professional misconduct), the first and best thing to do is talk to your therapist. If you’ve been in therapy awhile and things had been going well, but seem to take a turn for the worse, you might just be working through a critical or difficult issue. If you’ve just started, you might be learning about or adjusting to the process of being in therapy. If you’ve talked to your therapist about the problems with the therapy and made efforts to work through it over a course of time and at least a few sessions and things still haven’t improved, it may be time to consider a different therapist or approach. You should talk to your therapist about leaving and they can perhaps even suggest a referral to a new therapist or different treatment approach. Jared DeFife Ph.D.