Blog Posts

Cultivating Self-Compassion

Posted by on Jul 30, 2014 in Blog Posts | Comments Off on Cultivating Self-Compassion

Cultivating self-compassion The cultivation of self-compassion isn’t something that most of my clients are focussed on when they step through the door for their first session.  Most people come (understandably) with the desperate hope that I will rid them of the anxiety or panic that has been plaguing them.  Whilst relief from the anxious state is at the top of the priority list, it’s also important to realise that when we are stuck in states that we don’t like or that make us feel bad, we are often really mean to ourselves.  Those of you, who have already worked with me, will know that there is an added and welcome by-product to using the NPR treatment approach to recovering from anxiety.  During the process of recovery, you also develop a healthy and loving connection with your previously abandoned self.  This isn’t some touchy feely self help claim, it really is a natural function of coming to understand that no matter how anxious you are, your body and your mind are not your enemy. All living creatures are designed to move away from what is uncomfortable or painful, so when people find it impossible to move away from the anxious state being created by their survival brain and body, they often begin to feel angry, critical and frustrated with themselves.  The consequence is that on top of already feeling distressed and anxious, people begin to feel useless, helpless and worthless, due to the unkind way they respond to their thoughts, their bodies, in fact their whole selves.  It doesn’t help that other people respond to the anxious state with disbelief, frustration and impatience, confirming to the sufferer that they are doing something wrong and are disapproved of.  All of this can lead to depression, and isolation. Realising that we have a choice about how we respond to and treat ourselves comes as a revelation to most people.  But once we realise that we can turn towards ourselves, even the bits we don’t like or enjoy about ourselves and our experience, and offer ourselves the kindness and patience we would show a dear friend, something begins to change.  Recovering from anxiety and retraining the brain is undoubtedly an inevitable consequence of using the NPR process.  Becoming your own best friend is just one of the added bonuses....

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States and Phases

Posted by on Jul 30, 2014 in Blog Posts | Comments Off on States and Phases

Phases or States The physicist Andrea Sella points out that in physics and chemistry there is a tendency to use the word phase rather than state, which is to distinguish the possibility that there are structurally different arrangements of matter, such as in a solid, there will be orderly arranged atoms, in liquids there is more mobility and in gas the particles are further apart.  The different phases take place as a result of the varying conditions of energy and it’s interactions with the matter itself, such as with water, the conditions dictate the temperature of the water, through a whole range of states, from ice, to liquid, to steam, not ignoring all the subtle differences in between.  This theory of matter always being in a different phase dependent on the environment seems really relevant to me with regard to the function of anxiety. I realised as I was listening to the physicist talk, that describing anxiety as a ‘state’, although preferable to an illness or disorder, seems too solid a description. What I have observed is the fluidity of the experience of anxiety, as it ebbs and flows, quickens and slows, softens and intensifies, based on what we are encountering or thinking.  The word state might imply something more ‘fixed’ rather than a responsive and active process going through many different phases on a moment to moment, reactive basis. When I work with people they sit in front of me and before my eyes they experience shifts and changes, which are not fixed and solid.  Depending on how they, think, perceive and react to their experience, the set of physiological and emotional sensations that make up the phenomena that we call ‘anxiety’ is in constant flux.  This helps us to realise that the anxious experience itself is not something we need to be stuck in, it’s an experience to which we can bring about shifts and changes, as we learn to interact in ways that allow the solidity of the sensations to soften and dissipate, just as ice melts into water and then dissipates into steam as we alter the conditions that we impose upon it.   What conditions are you imposing upon the anxious experience right now?  Try bringing warmth, allowance, acceptance, just for a moment, and observe without judgement any shifts that may be beginning to take place now. ...

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Self-Compassion

Posted by on Jun 26, 2014 in Blog Posts | Comments Off on Self-Compassion

Cultivating self-compassion The cultivation of self-compassion isn’t something that most of my clients are focussed on when they step through the door for their first session.  Most people come (understandably) with the desperate hope that I will rid them of the anxiety or panic that has been plaguing them.  Whilst relief from the anxious state is at the top of the priority list, it’s also important to realise that when we are stuck in states that we don’t like or that make us feel bad, we are often really mean to ourselves.  Those of you, who have already worked with me, will know that there is an added and welcome by-product to using the NPR treatment approach to recovering from anxiety.  During the process of recovery, you also develop a healthy and loving connection with your previously abandoned self.  This isn’t some touchy feely self help claim, it really is a natural function of coming to understand that no matter how anxious you are, your body and your mind are not your enemy. All living creatures are designed to move away from what is uncomfortable or painful, so when people find it impossible to move away from the anxious state being created by their survival brain and body, they often begin to feel angry, critical and frustrated with themselves.  The consequence is that on top of already feeling distressed and anxious, people begin to feel useless, helpless and worthless, due to the unkind way they respond to their thoughts, their bodies, in fact their whole selves.  It doesn’t help that other people respond to the anxious state with disbelief, frustration and impatience, confirming to the sufferer that they are doing something wrong and are disapproved of.  All of this can lead to depression, and isolation. Realising that we have a choice about how we respond to and treat ourselves comes as a revelation to most people.  But once we realise that we can turn towards ourselves, even the bits we don’t like or enjoy about ourselves and our experience, and offer ourselves the kindness and patience we would show a dear friend, something begins to change.  Recovering from anxiety and retraining the brain is undoubtedly an inevitable consequence of using the NPR process.  Becoming your own best friend is just one of the added bonuses....

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Anxiety

Posted by on Oct 25, 2013 in Blog Posts | Comments Off on Anxiety

Anxiety is a state, not a mental illness, nor a psychological disorder. There is a social, cultural and medical story that prevails at this time in human experience, and that is that many of our minds are somehow broken, everyone is becoming mentally ill and that the solution to that is to prescribe medication. This isn’t an opinion; it’s a fact borne out by the number of prescriptions for anti-depressants being doled out with alarming regularity. This story is keeping both the pharmaceutical companies and the psychiatric/psychological profession in business. I think that for the health and survival of our species, we need to challenge this view. This view didn’t fit with my experience of anxiety in any way, and it also doesn’t fit with the experience of my clients. When I first experienced the anxious state I instinctively knew that something had happened in my mind and body, like the flicking of a switch that had transformed it into a different mode. It felt unpleasant and intense, both physically and psychologically, but I knew that if I could find the key to this switching on then I could find out how to switch it off again. The anxious state is really the ‘fight or flight’ state. The fight or flight state normally switches on and then switches off again once it has served it’s purpose. As the NPR process will teach you, the difference between the anxious state and the fight or flight state is that the anxious state outlives it’s purpose. Due to how it is triggered and how we react to it, we prevent it from switching itself off again until we learn how to do so. As a final year Psychology student at the time that the switch switched on inside me, my search began in the Psychology books and journal articles. Here I found all sorts of labels, PTSD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Floating Anxiety, OCD, Panic Disorder, but other than recommendations of medication, exercise, a healthy diet and distraction techniques, there was nothing that explained how the anxious state occurs, or how to change it for a better one. This in itself was very frightening as I felt that if the Psychology world didn’t know how to help me, then who would? None of this was very pleasant, but I am grateful that it happened, because the journey that I was about to go on would not only lead to my own return to a balanced state, but would also give me the ability to help others get there too. My first confirmation that it was possible to alter the state of anxiety was when I went for a hypnotherapy session; this was at the suggestion of a kind counsellor who didn’t know how else to help me. The hypnotherapy session was simply an induction script read out by the therapist that talked my accelerated brain into a place of calm and quiet. The effect lasted for a short time, which was disappointing at the time, but this turned out to be my first useful clue in the search for a solution. I thought, if someone else can talk to my mind and change my state, then so could I. I trained in Hypnotherapy, with Paul McKenna, and at the same time was introduced to the subject of NLP, Neuro Linguistic Programming; a creation of Dr Richard Bandler and John Grinder. I went on to train in NLP with Richard Bandler, John Le Valle and Michael Neill, and finally learned more about the human mind and psychology than my university degree had been able...

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Neuro-plasticity

Posted by on Sep 21, 2013 in Blog Posts | Comments Off on Neuro-plasticity

Neuro-plasticity N-P-R and Neuro-plasticity, theory and practise finally meet. It has long been assumed by practitioners of Neuro-linguistic programming, that we all hold a conceptual map of experience in our minds via which we navigate our lives. Alfred Korzybski made the statement, ‘The map is not the territory’ meaning that the map is just a representation of our reality and experience, but it isn’t the reality itself. Just like a normal map of the world, the map is a scaled down visual representation of the real world that we can use to navigate our way through the real geographical area. Click here to learn more Our conceptual map houses our beliefs about ourselves, our world, other people etc, based on the experiences we have had, and where we have been before. No one could create a normal map of the world without first going and seeing where it all was. Only what was seen and experienced got put in the map. No one map is the same as another, as we all experience the world through our own unique set of senses, and according to our individual experiences. That’s not to say our maps don’t have a lot in common with other maps. I believe that we also have societal and cultural maps, from which we operate, but more about that in a later post. If you have ever played one of those computer games where you start as a character in a virtual space you will grasp this very easily. As you move around the space a ghostly map will emerge on the screen that shows you where you have already been so that you can either retreat back to the safety of the known, or expand the map by venturing further with your character around the virtual environment causing it to grow ever more complex and vast. What you find is that once you have covered the territory available in the game, you are then limited by it. You can’t go out of the boundaries of the map to find treasure or slay virtual enemies, so you operate within the constraints of it. In real life, our maps can operate in a similar way. We experience our world through our senses and perceptions, our actions and interactions; this creates a map of our experience that includes memories of the outcomes of previous actions and experiences. If we have painful experiences that we don’t want to experience again, these can become the boundaries over which we won’t step because they don’t feel safe. They are self imposed limitations that operate mostly at the unconscious level and we only become aware of them when we try to step over them and feel a discomfort and lack of safety. The map is reminding us that last time we did this, something hurt, something negative resulted, so lots of us learn to remain within the safety of it. NLP practitioners have long recognised that this map is not fixed; there are no real boundaries. New experiences and ideas can overwrite old ones to expand the map creating new territory for exploration. The map can grow and reorganise itself eternally when you know how it operates and what to do to change it. NLP therapists teach people how to do this. Questioning your map and altering the parts that don’t help you to experience life as you want to is fundamental to change, and the latest Neuro-scientific findings are turning out to be as useful as the conceptual map theory in the area of change and growth. Neuro scientists have been fighting...

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Different Vehicles to the Same Destination

Posted by on Jun 24, 2013 in Blog Posts | Comments Off on Different Vehicles to the Same Destination

Different Vehicles to the Same Destination This weekend I attended a course which was presented by Michael Neill and Ali Campbell in Glasgow.  I trained in NLP with Michael many years ago and have followed his blog posts ever since.  I recently read his new book, ‘The Inside Out Revolution’ and found some striking similarities in our approach to showing people how to return to their own natural state of equilibrium, effortlessly. The premise of the NPR process is very much based upon the principle that no one is broken.  You may be experiencing the anxious state, but not because there is anything wrong with you, or that you are mentally ill, but because once the state is created, the way to un-create it feels counter-intuitive.  The NPR process uses a psycho-educational approach firstly to demystify the anxious state, so that you have a full understanding of your own mind/nervous system interaction.  (understanding this is much simpler than you might think). I believe that this is important.  Knowing how your mind and body create your experience of life allows you to live life on your own terms, with the ability to return to peace whenever you choose, in a simple, effortless manner.  The educational aspect then moves into an experiential approach, where you learn to understand that you are not your thoughts, your thoughts are the activity of the mind, representing your experience of your world back to you for reference.  You also learn how to reconnect with yourself at the sensory level, allowing the natural homeostatic (balancing) mechanism to generate a peaceful calm state, what I call your ‘natural’ state to return. In the three principles that Michael talks about in his book, conversation is used to allow the concepts of ‘mind’ ‘consciousness’ and ‘thought’, to gently and naturally shift perspective, allowing the individual to return to a state of ‘innate wellbeing’.  I found it interesting that Michael has moved away from his roots as an NLP practitioner because he has discovered a simpler truth.  This mirrored my own experience, as although the NPR process would not have come about without my having trained in NLP, it is very much ‘not NLP’.  The principles of NLP allowed me to elicit the processes that people used to create the anxious state in the early days of my own return to peace, but it wasn’t NLP techniques and tools that took me there.  I am grateful for the foundations that it gave me in understanding the structure of our internal communication processes, but from there, the psychology, the counselling, the hypnotherapy, the mindfulness, were just a platform to spring from into developing the unique approach that is NPR.  When you are happy to be anxious, you are happy.  When you are happy to be sad, you are happy.  When you are happy to be happy, you don’t cling to it like it’s about to disappear, you are just happy to be whatever you are in whatever moment you are in. Returning to a calm state is a simple, natural process.  I would recommend Michaels Book as it is entirely compatible with the NPR process, which can’t be said for many other approaches. Enjoy the return to you. With Love. Gill.  Free – Purchase NPR Treatment Checkout Added to cart   Share...

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