Category Archives: Hypnotherapy and NLP Articles

Defusing Anger in Relationships

Anger happens when, in some perceived way, we get a sense of a violation. A boundary that is crossed or a misalignment between someone else values compared to our own.

Sometimes these violations may be known to us – we may be aware of what angered us. At other times, the cause of the angry response may be outside of our conscious awareness. This is usually because the value that has been violated is a much deeper value. We tend to be aware of our surface values (such as trust for example) which makes it easy to spot why, when someone behaves in an untrustworthy way, we would take issue with it.

However, other values (for example significance) may be less conscious or may be values that we do not necessarily want to admit to having at such a high priority that should they be violated we would react with anger.

Some time ago, I was working with a woman who had come to see me at the NLP and Hypnotherapy Clinic in Hertfordshire. She had initially enquired about sessions of hypnotherapy, but as is often the case, we were able to resolve many of the challenges with anger in her relationship by way of NLP and CBT techniques instead.

The woman was frequently angry with her husband. They had at the start of their relationship been very loving towards each other but over the years she had come to resent him in some way and would fly off the handle very easily.

The husband would tolerate the snappy comments but every now and again, if she had been particularly provocative he would bite back and then a huge argument would begin.

Initially, I asked the woman about how her relationship was before the anger had crept in. Back then, she described her husband as a man who was always on the go. He seemed particularly energetic and had aspirations to start his own business. She felt that he was keen to impress her and that was where a great deal of his every had come from.

However, his plans to start his own business had gone out of the window, when they became pregnant with their first child. It seemed more sensible that he would take a promotion in his work instead.

Very soon their lives had transformed from an uncertain but adventurous future of starting their own business and carving out their lives together, to him going to work each day whilst she stayed at home looking after their child.

She became more dynamic as she ran the home and raised the child. He became exhausted by doing a job he did not enjoy. She began picking up the slack and doing more to make up for his lack of lust for life.

As this happened, unconsciously she began to think that his feeling toward her had changed. He no longer felt free and excited about the future and it appeared that the energised behaviour that he had previously had (which she had taken to mean he wanted to impress her) was gone. When she became more active and enthusiastic in her life he began to feel redundant in the dynamics of their relationship – as if he were no longer needed.

His response was to withdraw and hers was to attempt to jolt him into action with shocks of spikiness. Neither technique worked and this is why they both ended up getting so angry with each other.

Finding new and effective ways to respond to each other, change the balance in the relationship, show respect and appreciation and re-motivate each other was just one of the strategies we explore at the hypnotherapy Clinic. Finding out what you value most in your relationship and how those values may be getting violated is often the best way to diagnose the cause of anger in relationships and an NLP Practitioner would be able to help you to do this.


By Gemma Bailey

Hypnotherapy for Stress Relief in Hertfordshire

I have seen the benefits of hypnotherapy in helping adults to manage their stress and improve their overall well-being.

Stress is a common issue among adults, and it can have a significant impact on their mental and physical health. Adults who are struggling with stress may experience a range of symptoms, including anxiety, depression, insomnia, and physical health issues. While there are many traditional treatments available for stress, hypnotherapy can provide a unique and effective approach to managing stress.

Hypnotherapy involves using hypnosis to help a person enter a state of deep relaxation. During this state, the hypnotherapist can guide the person to explore their thoughts and emotions in a safe and supportive environment. By using hypnotherapy, adults can learn how to manage their stress and improve their overall well-being.

In Hertfordshire, there are many resources available for adults who are struggling with stress, including counselling services, support groups, and educational programs. However, hypnotherapy can provide a complementary approach to traditional treatment methods and can be particularly helpful for adults who have not found relief through traditional methods.

One of the most effective hypnotherapy techniques for relieving stress is progressive relaxation. Progressive relaxation involves tensing and releasing each muscle group in the body, in order to create a deep state of relaxation. By using this technique, adults can learn how to relax their body and mind, reducing the physical and emotional symptoms of stress.

Another hypnotherapy technique that can be helpful for relieving stress is visualization. Visualization involves using the imagination to create a peaceful and calming mental image. By visualizing a peaceful scene, adults can learn how to manage their stress and reduce feelings of anxiety and tension.

It is important to note that hypnotherapy should not be used as a substitute for traditional therapy or medication. However, it can be a valuable tool for adults who are struggling with stress and can provide a complementary approach to traditional treatment methods.

In Hertfordshire, there are many resources available for adults who are struggling with stress and their families. These include counselling services, support groups, and educational programs. By seeking help and support, adults with stress can learn how to manage their symptoms and improve their overall well-being.

In conclusion, hypnotherapy can be a powerful tool for helping adults to relieve stress in Hertfordshire. By using techniques such as progressive relaxation and visualization, adults can learn how to manage their stress and improve their overall well-being. While hypnotherapy should not be used as a substitute for traditional therapy or medication, it can provide a valuable and complementary approach to managing stress in adults. If you or someone you know is struggling with stress, don’t hesitate to seek help and support.

Headaches and Migraines

I started having migraines when I was about 7 years old and found them a very scary experience. There is something quite frightening about experiencing that degree of pain in the part of the body where the brain is stored!

Luckily, my migraines would disappear after I had vomited, and gone to sleep – painkillers wouldn’t touch them at all. I was also fortunate to not experience distorted vision (sometimes called a warning aura) or prolonged nausea or the kind of migraines that last for several days.

I recently experienced a headache after visiting a friend who lives around 45 miles from my home. On the way back, the oncoming headlights of the cars began to irritate me, and I sensed that my headache was going to develop into a migraine. I knew that if I allowed that to happen I would certainly be stuck a long way from home, so I made the decision to stop at a service station, park my car and lay in a hypnotic trance in the back seat for about 20 minutes. Hey presto, 20 minutes later I was fit to continue my journey.

The reason why migraines occur is largely to do with chemicals within the body. Your body is like a laboratory, and the chemical within it have an impact on your physical body. When a person has a migraine, there is a change in the serotonin levels in the body (it drops) and this causes the blood vessels to swell. It is the swelling that causes the pain.

People experience migraines for different reasons, emotional stress or tiredness are often factors, some foods may also be a trigger, or in my example above bright lights were a factor and loud noises can be too. Going without food can cause a migraine. to start, menstruation or even changes in the weather!

Hypnosis is a wonderful way to escape from the pain of migraine for several reasons. Firstly the trance can be laced with suggestions for controlling and lowering the level of pain experienced. The simple relaxation is also hugely beneficial- if the migraine. was not caused by stress, you can expect that after the onset of the pain there is definitely going to be some stress and relief that can only be a good thing. For reoccurring migraines, suggestions can be given to help the patient become more aware of the subtle warning signs that a headache or migraine. is on the way. Then self-hypnosis or relaxation can be used to prevent the symptoms from increasing.

“I feel so much better. Thank you so much, Gemma!”

By Gemma Bailey 




There once were many myths and misconceptions surrounding the reasons why addictions occur. Some believed that substances in themselves were not addictive, that it was the body’s chemical reaction to the substance to which the individual is addicted. This claim could certainly seem plausible when considering gambling or shopping addictions. There are no foreign chemicals entering the body, rather than the body is creating its own chemical reaction (dopamine/adrenalin) in response to the external stimulus of gambling or shopping, and it is the feeling that the individual is addicted to, not the actual act itself.

It is also understandable that when one introduces chemicals to the body, chemical reactions occur. Some of these reactions stimulate reward centres within the brain which are triggered when a person exercises, falls in love or is praised or acknowledged.

Sometimes an addiction occurs when a person uses drugs, cigarettes, alcohol or even food, to alleviate stress and worry. In order to successfully treat these types of addictions, the person must focus on increasing their levels of self-esteem so that they are able to create good feelings about themselves without any need to have the feelings triggered by an external stimulus.

It is difficult to predict if one person is more likely to suffer from addiction than the next. Again, claims have been made that some suffer from an addictive personality. It is also wise to consider the social circumstances of addicts. For example, if your parents smoked, you are more likely to be a smoker – this may be because you see the behaviour as socially acceptable or because you have a genetic predisposition or both. If your friend takes drugs, you are likely to be influenced by them. There are of course other factors. If a person is lacking in a structured life or has experienced an over-structured life, drugs can be a form of escape and detachment from a life which is perhaps, not entirely fulfilling.

Often, an addiction will increase in severity over time. This is because the body becomes regulated and used to the addictive chemical being in the body. To achieve the same level of stimulation, more of the addictive chemical is needed in the body. Many addictions can cause serious health, social, physical and mental problems and when addictive substances are increased in a non-regulated environment, the consequences can be devastating.

Fortunately, changes can be made. Addicts do not necessarily need to be addicts for the rest of their lives. If the addict is willing and motivated to change, there are ways of easing and in some cases removing completely, the side effects when withdrawing from an addictive substance.

NLP can be used to help the client understand new perspectives about how the addiction has impacted on their lives. Techniques can be used to desensitise any negative associations from the past, and positive triggers can be installed for use when the cravings would normally occur.

Hypnosis can be used to remove habits and create changes in the subconscious, the part of the mind responsible for creating and maintaining habits. Post hypnotic suggestions can be used to associate powerful negative feelings to the addictive act or substance so that these powerful negative feelings are experienced in the future if ever the patient considers interacting with the addictive substance or acting again.

By Gemma Bailey 


Releasing Disappointment

Disappointment is one of those feeling that we all experience but fail to discuss as much as other more (seemingly) significant emotions such as anger, stress and anxiety.
It may be because emotions like humiliation and disappointment tend not to be crippling. Life still goes on in spite of them, but they cast a bit of a cloud over what might be a perfectly happy human.

Disappointment tends to bring with it feelings of sadness and failing. It can have undertones of anger and bitterness and has the potential therefore to be a very complex emotion.

Often, though not always, disappointment brings with it a continual whirring or ‘what if’s’. If only things had been different. Returning to what might have been is what creates the stuck-ness that disappointment has and it cannot really be overcome until someone is ready to put a greater degree of energy and focus into what will happen next than they are currently putting into what might have been.

Living in the past rarely serves us unless it is to learn from the mistake we made and to make contingency plans for how we will be better prepared in a similar situation in the future.

Essentially, once the driving process of what might have/should have been has passed, the only way to really move on is by asking (and answering) the question:

“What are you going to do about it? How can you be ready for what happens next?”

Some of you reading may be old enough to remember the old BT adverts with Maureen Lipman in the late 80’s. In one such advert she calls her grandson to find out about his exam results. They are not as good as his grandmother would have wanted. You see the disappointment flash across her face and you can hear it in his voice too as he recites each subject he took and each one a failed exam.

Finally she says “You didn’t pass anything?”

“Pottery” he replies with a sigh.

It would have been a fleeting “What can he do about it?” thought that causes her to respond with: “Pottery? Very useful! People will always need plates. Anything else?”

“And sociology.” He responds glumly.

“An Ology? He gets an Ology and he thinks he’s failed! You get an Ology and you’re a scientist!”

As she continues to reassure him you see his eyebrows lift as he begins to consider that his grandmother might have a fair point in what she is saying.

Releasing disappointment doesn’t just come from finding ways to make the best of what you have or what you are left with. It also comes from being honest about what you’ve got and creative about what you chose to do with it next. It might also be a case of forgiving and deciding to set the bar in a different place to where your prior expectations had previously thought it could go.

Recover first, then make a plan for moving forward and make that plan have multiple prongs that can safeguard you from having the same sort of disappointment again in the future.

By Gemma Bailey

Find Your Happy

Some might say happiness is the absence of fear, stress or anxiety. For me it is more than that. Happiness helps us to access confidence more easily and is responsible for generating your overall feeling of positivity and contentment.

Since happiness is an emotion, it means we have full-time access to it, after all, we are the generators of our emotions. Of course, our circumstances might cause us to feel other emotions too. Ones that interfere with out ability to access happiness in that moment. Although it is estimated that only 10% of our overall happiness comes from your environment.

This means that whilst we could take a universal tragedy, that depending on how someone perceived that situation, there could still be people who would consider themselves happy in spite of it. This can only be caused by how they chose to think about the life rather than what life actually presents them with.

Learning to find happiness (especially if you have grown up with or work in an environment with particularly negative people) can be a real challenge. How can you condition yourself to have more happiness more of the time?

Comparative thinking is just one of the ways that we teach clients at the hypnotherapy and NLP Clinic in Hertfordshire. Comparative thinking is when, if you’re in a bad place and you notice someone who’s in a worse position than you, it starts to make you feel better as a result of comparing your situation to that of somebody who is, in some way, worse off. Comparative thinking comes from the school of positive psychology and is a way that people can effectively begin to change how they feel about their present circumstances.

Another way to increase your levels of happiness is to stop only rewarding yourself with happiness when you have achieved a goal. You’ve probably heard about the dangers in seeing yourself as successful once you have completed something. The problem this creates is you only have a very short moment of feeling successful before you have to create another goal post somewhere further away. If you do this with happiness too, it’s something you will constantly seek and never find. Avoid telling yourself things like “I’ll be happy when I’m with my perfect partner” or “I’ll be happy when I’ve bought a new car.” Find happiness in the now.

If happiness for what you have right now seems like to big an undertaking, then a smaller step can be to begin to find happiness in the every day things that you have learned to take for granted. For example, seeing a butterfly or a moment of warm sunshine on your face before the clouds blow over. When you have these experiences remark out loud or in your mind how lovely they are, or how grate fun you are. This will start to reprogram your mind to seek out more experiences like this. Plus it increases your positive memory references so that you have good memories you can return to for a top-up or ‘happy’ when you need it.

By Gemma Bailey

Bringing Down the Barriers – Dealing With Someone Who is Defensive

“Have you thought about getting a part time job?” I asked
“What are you trying to say?” Was barked back at me. |
“Errrm, literally just that. Have you thought about getting a part time job?” “Oh for God-sake!”

This was a recent encounter with a relative who, unbeknownst to me at that time, had, having recently retired, been asked the same question by many of our other relatives.

I hadn’t anticipated that such a simple and innocent question could prompt such a defensive response. If I had, I would have avoided asking it.

But sometimes we need to ask questions or make suggestions that we know are going to be provocative, either because of who we are dealing with or what the subject matter is going to be.

It seems unreasonable that you should have to formulate strategies to avoid upsetting the apple cart and so assisting the other person in changing their behaviour may be a more desirable alternative.

At The Hypnotherapy and NLP Clinic in Hertfordshire, we subscribe to a set of NLP presuppositions. One of these is “You cannot change others. When you change yourself others change also.” So when I make the suggestion of changing the other persons defensive behaviour, this is a change that will occur as a result of your new way of managing them.

Firstly, you’ve got to start thinking about life from their perspective. What are these unjust that they are protecting themselves from? What are the ways that their perceive their value to be challenges or violated? When you have identified these consider their other motivators too. What do they like, what gets their interest?

If you can begin to communicate with them in a way that has them feel as if their needs are being met, as if you too have their best interests at heart they will not have the need to defend themselves as they felt they did before.

You need to create the sense that you are on their side or, that at the very least you understand there side, if you want to remove from them the feeling that they need to defend themselves from you.

In the example above, my relative was complaining about not getting enough pension. This told me that they were concerned about the finances. The rest of us were concerned about how much money she was spending due to boredom. But having recently gained the freedom of retirement, she was in no hurry to put herself in a position of employment as the above outburst had demonstrated.

I waited a while and had to pick the right moment to casually say “Wow, that’s a decent amount of money.” As I flicked through the newspaper.
“What? What’s that?” She asked.
“Huh? Oh nothing. It’s an advert for part time Christmas work at the post office. I didn’t realise they paid such a good hourly rate.”

The ‘planting of the seed’ proved to be a useful way to covertly work around what would have otherwise been a suggestion that was disregarded due to stubbornness and defensiveness.

When you begin to see the world as they do, you can change how you communicate to fit with them. As the trust between you develops the barriers of defensiveness will soften meaning that when you need to cut-to-the-chase with them, they will already regard what you say as being reasonable.

By Gemma Bailey

Learning to Make Connections After Overcoming Social Anxiety

The anxiety is gone (or at the very least is entirely manageable now) and you’re ready to start getting out there in the big wide world, making new friends and forging new relationships. But wait? How do you do that exactly?

I remember being about 7 years old and able to walk up to a child and say “Hi, I’m Gemma. Would you like to play with me?” It was a pretty cool strategy that worked almost all of the time. Except this one time when I was on holiday with my grandparents. We were in Spain and I was playing alone in a swimming pool. I saw a little girl just like me and thought it would be nice to play.

The challenge was that I hadn’t realised she was Spanish. So when I approached her to say hello, she looked at me and freaked out because I was speaking to her in the wrong language. I watched her swim away hurriedly to her father, talk to him in her own language and point at me as if I had threatened to kill her. It was a big wake up call. Making friends wasn’t always going to be as easy in the future as it had been in the past, and clearly there was a little more that I need to know when it came to making relationships. “Hello, do you want to be my friend?” wasn’t the fail safe that I thought it was.

There’s a rule when it comes to communications that ‘People like people who are like themselves’. Meaning that we prefer to connect with others who in some way appear to be like us. That could be something about their posture or how they use their body, the tone of their voice or even the sorts of words and language they use.

Therefore, a good first step in building up relationships with others after overcoming social anxiety, is to observe others first. Notice the communication styles they use. At the Hypnotherapy and NLP Clinic in Hertfordshire, we teach people all of the different clues you can look out for to identify someone’s communication style; how to replicate it and communicate back to them in that style causing them to feel comfortable and at ease with you.

We’ll also teach you how to become comfortable with the uncomfortable. It goes without saying that we have all experienced an uncomfortable social encounter at some time, but when someone has had social anxiety, they have felt that feeling (or at the very least feared having that feeling) for a significant period of time. Taking that first bold steps to ‘get back out there’ and face up to whatever may come your way takes an honest acknowledgement that just because you feel better, it doesn’t mean that everyone you meet will be lovely, or that they’ll love you. Becoming comfortable with the idea that sometimes your conversations may be stilted or that people might not be as friendly as you would have liked; whilst still maintaining the knowledge that many people will be friendly and many other conversations will be wonderful, takes a kind of acceptance of the idea that that things may not be perfect every time and that this is perfectly natural and okay.

By Gemma Bailey

Moving On After a Relationship Break-Up

There are no set rules when it comes to the best way in dealing with a relationship break up because most of the actions you need to take will need to be customised to your own unique situation.

That’s why at The hypnotherapy and NLP Clinic in Hertfordshire, we always perform a consultation (fact finding) session first to find out more about how you are thinking and feeling presently and where you’d like to get to in your thinking and feelings to be able to cope better with what has happened.

Some people will feel hurt, anger or simply lost when when a relationship fails. Part of moving on can be to look at why things didn’t work out so that you can be better prepared in the future to avoid the mistakes or clues that might have shown you that things were not as you would have hoped.

If you feel you have been wronged in some way, these are particularly important emotions to resolve so that you are able to be more robust in the future and avoid having what could otherwise remain as a vulnerability from being exploited.

Of course, we all know that time is a healer and that pain can fade with time. However, I also fully appreciate that when you are in emotional pain, waiting for it to pass with time can be an unrealistic expectation. When the heart break is interfering with your interactions in the rest of your life or preventing you from functioning as you need to, then it’s time to take some action to speed up the process of recovery.

When a relationship has gone bad and there were clear signs, perhaps for some time, that the partnership was toxic in some way, you’d think that this would accelerate the healing process. In my experience I have found the reverse to be true. Often when a relationship is already showing signs of unpleasantness, we have a tendency to want to fix it before jumping ship. All of that effort and energy that goes into tolerating abuses, helping the other person, making excuses for the way things are is suddenly redundant. It’s proven to be a waste of time and this can make us feel that not only have we lost someone who is part of our lives, but we have lost a battle to save them/the relationship/ourselves too. It’s an extra blow. Logically your mind may say “Look at all the trouble you had. Remember how unhappy you were, all of those bad things they said!” and then it seems almost crazy that logically knowing that to be true, you’d still feel so sad.

A baby step that you can take to start moving in the right direction is to begin to slowly build yourself back up. What do you deserve in a relationship? What kind of standards do you want to set for yourself that your next partner should (within reason) adhere to? What will you not tolerate?

You can begin to remove the emotional charge from this situation by reminding yourself in a way that an empowering coach would say “You deserve to be happy. You deserve to be treated well. Remember that and move forward with your focus there.”

Make moving forward about becoming the best you can be and really knowing what you want from a relationship. That doesn’t mean you are seeking another relationship necessarily, it simply means that you are making a point of knowing yourself, knowing what you want and refusing to take anything less than that.

By Gemma Bailey

Relief From Defensiveness

Defensiveness occurs when we assume we are in some way being attacked or threatened. The importance of what we feel the need to protect will have have a direct correlation with the degree to which we defend.

Whilst being able to defend what is important to you and having the ability to stand up for yourself are admirable skills that can prevent other people taking you for granted, sometimes our levels of defensiveness are overly elevated such that they begin to cause a problem.

For example, if someone rudely criticises your appearance because they dislike your choice of fashion, it is entirely reasonable that you should respond and defend yourself. After all, those little unjust that you let creep by will eventually eat away at your self-esteem, if you do not either develop some resilience or stand up for yourself.

However, if you are criticised for your appearance because you work in a job with a strict dress code or uniform and you showed up that day dressed as if you were having a lazy Sunday at home, then reacting defensively instead of taking on board the criticism (or in this instance we might refer to it as being feedback instead) could cause a problem.

As linguistics is my favourite element of NLP, one of the things I like to do with clients that I meet at the Hypnotherapy and NLP Clinic in Hertfordshire is to help them devise good quality questions that they can ask themselves when they feel that their defensive barriers are coming up.

Some useful things to ask yourself when you notice that sensation of needing to defend yourself are:

Will my reaction really make a difference to this person or me? Is it therefore really worth my time and energy?

Is this really an attack or threat or could it be a misunderstanding?
Could I relax and explain my position instead of defending it?

Is it OK for someone to have a different idea or opinion to me on this? If so do I still need to defend myself?

Will I still be bothered by this tomorrow/next week/next month/next year/in 10 years time?

Could there be an entirely different message intended to the one I am receiving? Would that change how I am about to respond?

Would I still feel defensive if I found something humorous in all this?

Not too long ago, I had a dispute with a relative about something which was so minimal, I now cannot remember what it was. What I do remember is that it was by text (which is never a good way to understand the other persons point or have them understand yours). At the time, it seemed to be significant enough that I had pinged over a few messages defending my position.

Simultaneously, I was looking for a way to wrap up the dispute because it was time consuming at a point when I had better things to do and I could feel the tension increasing as I began to feel more defensive. This was something that I wanted to avoid.

The other person then responded with a message saying “You always have to have the last word.”

Rather than defending myself again and sending something else back that would no doubt fan the flames further, I instead decided to make the situation humorous (for myself) by deliberately not replying to the message that stated I always had to have the last word. I had a little chuckle to myself about it and by re-framing the importance of defending myself in that situation was able to let go of the stress that being defensive had created.

By Gemma Bailey