Thursday, 31 December 2009


Learning to deal with our emotions rather than bottling them up is essential to our wellbeing and our ability to create relationships; but how exactly do we do that?
It is thought by psychologists that staying quiet while seething inside can lead to chronic stress, depression, low self esteem and possibly physical illness. And yet it is considered impolite to let people know how we feel, to keep our thoughts and emotions hidden inside is what we are taught to do from a very early age. Whats the best way to get rid of these negative feelings?

Maybe we should count to 10, remove ourselves from the situation and take a few deep breaths. Thats one way that will help you to calm down; taking deep slow breaths can slow down your heart rate. So many of my clients have said that only helps for a while, that is until “those thoughts come back”.

There is also a train of thought that thinks its healthier to let is all out by shouting, screaming or even smashing things. A few years back there was a train of thought that one way to get rid of peoples anger was for them to hit things – this was usually a pillow. The angry person would take a bat or stick and repeatedly hit something whilst thinking of their anger.

There is even a place in San Diego ( whereby you can go and pay for the privilege of being able to smash things. Its proving so popular in the US that we in the UK will be able to try out this way of venting our spleen very soon.
Googles and a safety suit are provided (we must remember health and safety whilst being angry) and a padded room whereby people can then smash crockery and glasses etc; they can even bring their own stuff if they so wish.

Studies have found that these kinds of techniques can actually make people even more angry and aggressive than before. The more they practice being angry the better they get at it ................

Anger like all emotions is there for a specific reason and is a signal for us to take action possibly change something and communicate to others that something isn’t right.

The old fashioned English way of keeping a stiff upper lip may even be damaging for peoples career according to research done by Harvard. This project tracked the lives of more than 800 people for the past 44 years and found that those who dealt with their anger were more likely to be happy in their life and career and enjoy closer physical and emotional intimacy whereas those who suppressed their feelings were more likely to have disappointment work and person lives.

So how can we deal with anger in an appropriate way?

Exercise is one way as the exertion will reduce adrenalin and any aggression whilst giving you time to think and calm down.

Another way of helping people deal with aggression and anger is to ascertain their strategy, what is it that they are doing in their head that makes them feel this way and teach them how they can change the way they are feeling, responding to situations that will allow them to let go of any aggressive angry thoughts; in turn giving them the ability to decide what needs to change to enable them to improve their physical and emotional wellbeing.

Friday, 11 December 2009

I Love My Job

When I first started my private practice I considered a number of things – marketing, fee structure, where to work, building up my skills amongst others. One thing I hadn’t considered was working with children; and yet children are probably the best clients you can have.

They have no preconceived ideas as to how things work; if you ask them about the pictures they have in their head or the voices they hear – they will tell you. If you ask them to tell you about the feeling they have, they are very happy to explain. They can tell you about all these things in the smallest of details. They don’t want to tell you any details of their fears or worries and are extremely happy to work content free.

Many years ago my first young client was a girl of 7 whose big brother had let her watch the Exorcist whilst he was babysitting! If you haven’t seen the movie, there are scenes in it that I (who have seen many things and isn’t squeamish) don’t like very much so you can imagine how it could affect a young girl. When she came to see me she had stopped talking to anyone, wouldn’t eat very much and would only go to sleep if her mother cuddled her.

To her mothers surprise after just a few moments, she was able to speak; her mother said it was like magic. What did I do? I told her that I would take the fear away and lock it in my filing cabinet and proceeded to do just that. Her first words in weeks were “you wont let it out will you”.

She was fine until she got home and her father said “you’d better be careful it doesn’t come back”. Great thanks dad!

When mum brought her back to me the next week, she said its not the same fear and I showed her how she could shrink down the pictures in her mind. But she didn’t want to keep them in her head so she would put them into envelopes and post them to me. Writing on the outside “Do Not Open Fear Inside”.

Just a few months ago a mother brought her 12 year old son to see me a very quiet nervous looking boy, who just sat and looked at me. He didn’t want to go to school, and each morning when they arrived at the school gates he had a panic attack. Apparently this started at his previous school and mum changed schools for him as the teachers in his previous school said he was stupid and slow. This lovely young man had been labelled dyslexic and his parents were trying to find some way to help him learn so that he could pass exams and succeed in life.

He thought he was stupid and was worried that he wouldn’t be able to do any of the things that was needed; he had been to counsellors before and they hadn’t helped at all.

He didn’t think about school when he wasn’t there, got ready in the morning OK, got in the car and it was only at the gate that he became scared. He said he had a huge picture of his teacher (who he didn’t like cos she thought he was stupid too!) in his head and all he could think about was this women who didn’t like him. I showed him how he could shrink her and push the picture away, and they suddenly he laughed, there was a sparkle in his eyes. “Can I give her a donkeys head?” he asked. Sure I replied and he put her in his pocket.

“Can I do this with the other thoughts I have?” he asked.

I told him of course he could and he proceeded to sort out his thoughts. Till he came to a feeling he couldn’t budge and I showed him how to get rid of that, and change the voice in his head. Then we went on to look at spelling strategies .....
His mum was so pleased that he now goes to school easily, and is much happier apparently he is starting a “Worry Club” for others at his school so that he can help other children change their bad feelings; and he’s asking when can he do his NLP Practitioner training ..............

Please note that anyone working with young persons or vulnerable adults may need to have a CRB (Criminal Record Bureau) check; this is essential if you are working alone with the young person. In the absence of this check you will need a parent or guardian with you at all times. Contact the CRB call centre on 0870 90 90 844 for a form.