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Positive change hypnotherapy

Keira Smith - AfSFH NCH HPD

Manageable steps to a brighter future

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About Me

I'm Keira, a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist, based in Stratford Upon Avon. I offer the flexibility of both face to face, and online appointments via Zoom for my clients.

So what is Solution Focused Hypnotherapy?
It is a modern approach, based on Clinically proven neuroscience. It blends talking therapy, and trance (deep relaxation), in order to support clients to move forward with their lives.

I see a range of clients with both physical and emotional issues, OCD, lack of confidence, IBS, Health anxiety, depression, quitting smoking, Rheumatoid arthritis, in short I can help you to cope better and become more resilient whatever may be challenging you.

 I give my clients an approachable, working description of the brain, which I regularly recap throughout the course of their sessions. Clients find this is useful as it enables them to understand their own thoughts and behaviours, and how these may be adding to their stress bucket. I aim to educate and support clients so that the day comes when they no longer need me.

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Recent Blog Posts:

The Thief of Joy – Depression

That feeling as the darkness starts to descend, the lights slowly dim, until you're left in a dingy, grey space....
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The Thief of Joy – Depression

Gaining control of Addiction through Solution Focused Hypnotherapy

If you, or someone you love has, or does, struggle with addiction, you will be familiar with the feeling of...
Read More
Gaining control of Addiction through Solution Focused Hypnotherapy

Overcoming the challenges of OCD

For this post, I enlisted the help of my client, who over the last year has been attending Solution Focused...
Read More
Overcoming the challenges of OCD

Gut Wrenching – Why Hypnotherapy helps IBS

Speaking as someone who was plagued with digestive problems going back as far as I remember, I know how irratating,...
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Gut Wrenching – Why Hypnotherapy helps IBS

The magic of not looking back

The past can be a wonderful place to revisit, lovely memories of childhood, old friends, and days when everything just...
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The magic of not looking back

The Power of Trance

Trance. When I mention that word people generally say things like, 'are you going to swing a watch in front...
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The Power of Trance

Burnout and box ticking

That common word we hear banded about - burnout. We can all feel like this at times during our life,...
Read More
Burnout and box ticking

How Hypnotherapy Can Help:

Is staff turnover high?

Are sick days too frequent?

Has the culture become problem Focused rather than Solution Focused?

Are your workforce hiding behind procedures, rather than communicating?
Support is at hand!

Whether you're local to Stratford Upon Avon, or elsewhere in the country, Positive Change Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can offer support to your business.
Positive Change offers:
- Mental health skill building workshops/training days
- Relaxation Sessions
- 1:1 sessions for individual members of staff

Staff learn how to:
- Manage their stress buckets
- Change their thoughts, and therefore their behaviour & emotions
- Relax properly & the importance of doing so

All this can be provided face to face, or online.

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy allows the client to focus on their individual strengths, successes, and best hopes. For those with Neurodiversity many situations and professionals focus on the perceived issues that their Neurodiversity is causing, or will cause later on. We know from working with modern Neuroscience that this fills up the Stress bucket of the individual, and those supporting them, causing them to feel isolated, as well as dramatically affecting their ability to cope with life in a healthy, fulfilling way.

We take a Solution Focused approach. Allowing the individual to maximise and celebrate their strengths, help improve that vital rest and sleep, and give them space to see where their specific skill set can be best used to benefit themselves and others.

Addiction of any kind is a coping mechanism for a full stress bucket. When we are overwhelmed and stressed, we are operating in the Fight & Flight part of our brain. This part of the brain can only operate between anger, anxiety, and depression, or a combination of all 3. It can't think of new ideas, and therefore at times of stress it reaches for a quick, tried and tested coping mechanism. The Fight & Flight brain doesn't think ahead, and it doesn't weigh up whether the coping mechanism will help you long term. This means that often what it tells us to go for at difficult times are things that give us immediate, but short term relief, but are damaging in the long term.

Drugs, alcohol, sugar, cigarettes, risky behaviours, anything that with misuse begins to affect the quality of your life. Solution Focused Hypnotherapy enables the client to look at how they can, through manageable steps, start to reduce their stress levels. By listening to the trance, during and between sessions, they regularly relax the brain and begin to reprogram the subconscious with more helpful, positive beliefs. This enables them to move out of the Fight & Flight brain, and into the intellectual brain, here the client can start to make healthier choices for themselves, and find sustainable coping mechanisms.

If our stress bucket is already full, and we then suffer a traumatic event, we have no capacity available to cope, and that event becomes hardwired into our brain. This is when Trauma & PTSD occur, and each time anything the brain views as vaguely similar to the original event occurs, our fight & flight brain reacts as if that original danger has returned. This means we regularly overreact, which is distressing, inappropriate, and doesn't allow us to simply get on with our lives.

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy helps the client to empty the stress bucket, so that the brain can process the trauma correctly. Once our stress levels have come down, sleep can improve, and during our Rapid Eye Movement phase of sleep we can move those traumatic memories into the intellectual part of the brain, and out of our Fight & Flight brain. Once in the intellectual brain we can view the memories of the trauma rationally, without emotion, so that they no longer trigger unpleasant feelings and inappropriate behaviour.

During Trance we get the client visualising how they want their performance to go. Visualisation and action are closely connected. Even visualising someone else doing an action activates our motor cortex, the area of our brain involved in planning, and executing voluntary movements. Studies have shown that people who do around 75% mental training with 25% physical training achieve better results than those whose physical training outweighs their mental training. This means that Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can help the client improve confidence, increase motivation. increase muscle strength for physical performance, decrease anxiety, improve physical endurance, and handle stress and frustration better.

Panic Attacks are the symptom of a full stress bucket. We have reached our limit, and an event tips the bucket to overflow, placing us firmly in our Fight & Flight brain. Our stress bucket can fill up gradually over time, and if we are not aware how we can empty it, it will continue overflowing.Solution Focused Hypnotherapy helps to reduce stress, getting us back into our intellectual brain where we can cope better when stressful events arise.

When women experience hormonal shifts during the various stages of the Menopause, the levels of the stress hormone Cortisol rise in the body. Rising levels of Cortisol can cause symptoms including anxiety, sleep problems, weight gain, heart palpitations. Very similar to adolescence, this period is full of hormonal, emotional, physical, and brain based changes.

During Solution Focused Hypnotherapy sessions we take a whole person approach. We help the client manage their stress bucket, and begin to notice helpful and unhelpful behaviours.

When the client learns to manage their stress bucket, sleep patterns are able to improve. Better sleep means more effective nightly emotional first aid, freeing up spare capacity for the client to make better decisions about their lifestyle, exercise, diet etc. Being able to make these better choices means the client can reshape their life in a supportive way for this new period of their lives.

When we have a full stress bucket, our communication and compassion for our partner can take a hit. Because at this point we are operating in our primitive brain, our patience wears thin quickly, and we can end up in a vicious cycle - we feel stressed, therefore we don't communicate well. we then end up in a argument with our partner, and the stress of the argument pours more into our stress bucket, keeping us in that primitive brain.

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can help to break this cycle. During our sessions we focus on how you can empty your stress bucket. Once you have less in your bucket you can spend more time in the sensible, rational part of your brain, where you can step back and find better ways to communicate with your partner. Getting you in a better place allows you to make better choices within your relationship.

It may be just you attending, however if both you, and your partner want to attend sessions, I will see you both separately, and I will never discuss one partner with the other.

As our stress bucket becomes more and more full, anxiety levels rise, and this can be accompanied by some unpleasant physical symptoms. Anxiety can begin to control our daily lives, limiting our ability to cope, and preventing us enjoying what life has to offer. Solution Focused Hypnotherapy helps the client become aware of how to empty, strengthen, and put a lid on that stress bucket, as well as relaxing the mind enough to get out of its own way.

When we were Cave people, if we looked outside our cave and there was snow, or ice, or a dangerous predator, we would return to the back of our cave, and pull the rug over us. Here we would stay until the exterior conditions changed. This is now what we know as depression. That feeling of low mood, tiredness, sadness, hopelessness, that can often come with very real physical symptoms such as aches and pains, nausea, and headaches. When we are in this place, our brain is not producing any of the chemicals we need to feel motivated and happy. Here’s where Solution Focused Hypnotherapy comes in, to jump start your battery. We get you focussing on the positives in your life, however small or hard to find at first, and by committing to this process, along with our use of trance, you get those wonderful, happy chemicals to flow again.

When our stress bucket is full, our brain can not relax enough to sleep. When we don't sleep, our brain can not do its job of emptying our stress bucket. A vicious cycle, that many of us have found ourselves in at some point. Sleep is our superpower, and our emotional first aid. During sleep our cells regenerate and our organs detox, and our brain tidies up its contents, building memory, and moving the experiences of the day into the appropriate parts of the brain.

So how does Solution Focused Hypnotherapy help to break the cycle of insomnia? Lets begin with trance, or deep relaxation. By using this in our sessions, and getting the client to listen to their recording each day or night, we get their brain resting, relaxing, and becoming quiet. Just half an hours trance can be equivalent to 4 hours sleep. We accompany this with talking therapy, giving the client an opportunity to examine any areas of their life where they could make manageable changes to help empty, strengthen, and put a lid on their stress bucket. Once the stress bucket is more under control, sleep improves, and those overnight processes can start to run more smoothly. This is when that vicious cycle can start to become a positive cycle.

When we are suffering long term (Chronic) pain, it fills up our stress bucket. This affects our sleep, concentration, energy levels, and the more we think about the pain, the worse it gets. When our stress bucket is full, we produce plenty of the stress hormone Cortisol. Cortisol makes us feel pain more keenly, as it is an inflammatory, that sensitises the nerve endings. If we have been suffering Chronic pain for a long time, we can get stuck in what is known as a pain loop. This is when the brain has got so used to sending pain signals, that even when the cause of the pain has gone, the brain continues to send pain signals, Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can't cure your condition, but what it can do is help you cope better with the pain.

To start with, any reduction in stress, reduces Cortisol, and this helps the body to feel the pain less keenly. Trance helps to relax the mind, allowing rest and improved sleep. When we can sleep better our brain can organise itself properly through the night, and start to empty the contents of our stress bucket. Getting our clients to focus on the positives in their lives, through talking therapy, gets the happy chemical Serotonin, and the reward chemical Dopamine flowing, lifting their mood, and motivating them. All of these allow more resilience in the face of pain.

Did you know that only 10 % of smoking addiction is to the nicotine? The other 90% of the addiction is to the habit. As well as using trance to implant new suggestions into your subconscious, our 'Quit Smoking' session has a section of talking therapy, exploring why you smoke, what its giving you that perhaps other things aren't, and how you are going to reward yourself going forward for not smoking.

A great example of this is often a 'Quit Smoking' client will say to me, 'I smoke because it gives me 5 minutes peace and quiet to myself. Its an excuse to take a break from the house/office, and get my head together' - so, in order to make sure the client doesn't go back to smoking or vaping, we get them thinking about, and planning how, they can give themselves that 5 minutes peace without a cigarette.

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy gives anyone working towards an exam space and time to relax completely. During trance their mind is able to slow down and rest, and their body is able to allow any tension to slip away.

Through our talking therapy, clients are able to plan manageable steps to help them continue with a sustainable study plan, which balances smart working patterns, and relaxation, to enable them to get the best possible result when exam time arrives.

During our sessions clients learn about how their brain works, and what we can do to help it work at its best. We also look at what small steps clients can take to keep their stress bucket as empty as possible during this challenging time, as well as getting them to talk about their strengths, achievements, and support systems.

All of this gets the happy chemical Serotonin flowing, helping to keep clients in the intellectual part of their brain. Exactly where we need to be to perform well in ana exam.

Anger is a primitive emotion which we used as Cavemen to increase our physical strength in order to fight off danger. We still have a 'caveman' part to our brain, and when anxiety increases, we lose intellectual control, and end up operating in it. This can be really harmful and mean we can have inappropriate reactions to situations.

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy helps the client to reduce their own stress, helping them to get back into the intellectual part of their brain. This part of the brain is the inhibitor, so if anger arises whilst we are operating here, we have the ability to override that reaction and choose a different one.

⅕ women in England have a common Mental Health disorder, twice as many as men.

Scientists have discovered that our sex hormones don't just influence our behaviour, but our brain function as well.

When our stress is less, our hormones are more balanced, and we can move into our 'feed & breed' nervous system. Put simply, this limits the impact our hormones have on our ability to live our lives.

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy offers support with:  - - Puberty PMS/PMDD
- Painful/heavy periods
- PCOS/Endometriosis Loss of Libido/Pain or anxiety around sex
- Hormonal imbalance
- Over elevated sex drive
- Fertility Issues
- Pregnancy loss
- Still birth
- Traumatic childbirth
- Post natal depression
- Overwhelm/anxiety during pregnancy

Research shows that a relaxed brain works so much better than a stressed brain. When our brain is relaxed we can operate in our intellectual brain, rather than our fight/flight brain. When in our fight/flight brain we see everything as a danger, we are vigilant and risk averse, therefore keeping us away from new opportunities.
Solution Focused Hypnotherapy enables the client to establish new skills to keep them operating in that intellectual brain, allowing them to see and take advantage of new opportunities, push themselves to take calculated risks, and assert themselves when needed.

Spiders, flying, heights - some common Phobias that we hear of a lot. However, we can have a phobia of absolutely anything, and we don't actually have to have come into real life contact with the subject of our Phobia. A Phobia can be created through our imagination, something we have seen on T.V, or hearing about someone else's unpleasant experience, as well as experiencing it for ourselves.

Phobias manifest when our Stress bucket is full, the brain has nowhere left to put things, and it hardwires the experience into our brain. Therefore the first step of treating any Phobia is for us to work together to empty out your stress bucket

1.2% of the population suffer with OCD. It is a debilitating condition that can severely interfere with daily routine and causes distress.

There is a fine line between extreme anxiety and OCD. The most promising difference being that an OCD sufferer, due to intrusive thoughts, feels the need to perform rituals or ‘safety behaviours’ in order to avoid a perceived danger. These can manifest in many forms such as hygiene, herding, cleaning, checking, avoidance or ordering.

It can be hard to find there right support for your OCD and there are many people living severely reduced lives, not knowing where to turn.

Solution focussed hypnotherapy offers OCD sufferers a gentle, manageable way to reduce their anxiety levels. Once we work together to reduce anxiety, the client can tart to feel more comfortable to make small changes to their lives, challenging thought patterns and rituals in a Manageable way that is completely led by them. We will always look to take small steps.

Should an OCD sufferer feel overwhelmed by the thought of a face-to-face appointment, online appointments from the comfort of their own home are just as effective, and give the client was access to the support they need.

Grief is a very natural process, that the brain is very good at moving through all on its own. When we experience grief it goes into our stress bucket as a large chunk, and it sits there as our brain works through it in its own time. The issue comes when there is so much else surrounding it in the stress bucket, that our brain is too busy dealing with all that to get to the grief.

I remember when my mum died, I was dealing with legal matters, funeral matters, family feuds, plus all the stuff that had gone into my stress bucket from the time she was ill leading up to her death. These 'distractions' can mean that grief not being dealt with at the time, and this is when we can experience what is sometimes called 'delayed grief'. So, by working with a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist, it will not speed up the grieving process, but it will help to clear the clutter from around the grief so that you can cope better during that grieving process.

If you have ever struggled with your weight, you know how frustrating it can be when you feel you have tried everything, and still you can't get to where you want to be. When we were cave people, sugary, fatty foods were scarce, and took a lot of effort to obtain. Fruit was seasonal, animals had to be caught, and cooked before we could eat the meat, and therefore when we got hold of these delicious treats, our brain told us to eat as much of it as possible because we might not get them again for a long time, and we need to build up our stocks to survive the winter.

Fast Forward to the present day, and part of our brain is still 'primitive' as it was back then. Only now we can get as much sugary, and fatty food as we like, whenever we want it. Now when we are stressed, tired, and overwhelmed, we end up moving out of the sensible, rationale intellectual part of our brain, and into that primitive, caveman part. The part that wants that immediate satisfaction of comfort food. When we use Solution Focused Hypnotherapy to relax, manage our stress better, and get better sleep, this helps us to stay in that intellectual, sensible part of the brain. Here is where we can make better choices about what we eat, and make manageable, sustainable changes to our lifestyle.

Keira Smith

Mon, 9 Oct, 18:05 (3 days ago)

to me
I am proud to provide a safe space for children & young people with additional needs.
It can be so hard for parents to get the care that their child needs to enable them to feel happy and safe. Our schools, support services, and NHS are so stretched.
When a parent brings their young person to see me, they often tell me they don't know where else to go. That they have tried so many different avenues, have been on waiting lists, or have been told there is nothing else that can be done for their young person.
Here at Positive Change Hypnotherapy, I give that young person an opportunity to look beyond the problem. To start to build coping strategies, reduce anxiety, acknowledge and maximise their individual strengths, and start to develop a sense of control within their life again.
Life is hard enough to navigate, but for someone with additional needs to can be a daily minefield, draining their energy, and raising anxiety.
By providing a safe space where we can work together to reduce the young persons stress, we provide a safe space for the overwhelmed parent. As the young persons stress reduces, it allows a parents stress to reduce. Helping the family to free up capacity and cope better.
Get in touch if you have a young person in your life who needs support

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