Tag Archives: communication

Your Self-Esteem Explained!

Morris Rosenberg states that self-esteem is formulated in 3 ways (1) reflected appraisals, (2) social comparison, (3) self-attribution.

The reflected appraisal comes from Mead and Cooley’s idea that if others respect us and look up to us in some way, we are likely to have higher self-esteem than if they are degrading us.

‘Social comparison’ is the process by which we compare ourselves to others in either a positive, neutral or negative way. Poor children (as a generalisation) will often do less well at school than their wealthier classmates as the comparison of lifestyles may develop negative self-esteem, making it less likely that the poorer child will perform well in school and the low level of achievement will then further damage the self-esteem (see below).

Self-attribution is when there is a failure to observe the internal psychological processes and instead, form an opinion of the self-based on external behaviours or reactions. Bem gives us the example that a man who eats an enormous dinner could conclude “I guess I was hungrier than I thought” making a conclusion about his external experience in seeing the empty plate instead of getting in touch with his internal feelings whilst eating or after finishing the food to establish if he was full up earlier or is now feeling overfilled. Therefore a child whose teacher tells them “You’re not very good at concentrating.” Could conclude that this outside information is the truth about their ability to concentrate and develop low self-esteem, instead of challenging the statement internally (“When am I good at concentrating? What do I concentrate really well at? Am I concentrating now?) and using his own internal conclusions to improve the self-esteem and the level of concentration.

By far the most reliable means of improving one’s own self-esteem is to find it from within, as relying on an outside source to verify your identity can be at times unreliable. If your self-esteem comes from knowing that you are a good daughter to your parents, what will happen to that self-esteem when those parents pass away? Or if your self-esteem is verified by knowing that you are good at your job, do you then lose your self-esteem if you lose your job?

If we must compare ourselves to others, then surely looking at what others have and what we do not, is best serving us if that helps us to establish new goals for the future to help us achieve that which others have. Comparing ourselves to those who have less than us should encourage us to feel thankful and to develop a more grateful attitude for what we have already.

The idea of challenging the labels we are given (or give to ourselves) is not a new one. All NLP techniques are really based on the idea of reframing a problem (that is “seeing it in a different and more resourceful way).

Psychologist, Dr Clare Graves said “It’s not that you get rid of problems. You evolve into a person who the problem doesn’t matter to.” This implies that overcoming a problem is simply a case of changing the way in which you think about that problem or seeing yourself in a more resourceful way. Using the techniques of NLP this change in thinking can be created at the unconscious automatic level. When a person believes that they can be and do more, they tend to feel better about themselves and therefore have a better experience in life. They achieve greater results which propel their self-esteem to an even greater level.


By Gemma Bailey

Boost Your Creativity

The Encarta dictionary defines creativity as “the ability to use the imagination to develop new and original ideas or things, especially in an artistic context.”

Creativity and imagination are largely linked with right brain functions, whereas analytic and rationalised thinking is more associated with the left brain.

As individuals, we may tend to be more inclined to naturally use one side of the brain more than the other, which would define the ability we have to tap into our creative talents. Of course, there are influences in our lives as we grow up, that are responsible for either nurturing or stifling our creativity. For example, most of our schooling tends to focus much more on learning via the left brain, encouraging logical and objective learning, as opposed to holistic experiential learning which is related to the right brain.

Creating can lead to a deep sense of satisfaction and there are many different ways that people can express creativity. The common factors tend to be that a great feeling of compulsion to do something. Then throughout the process of doing it, a connection with oneself, or even a feeling of motivation or trance-like experience. If the person remains motivated to continue their project until completion, they will feel a great sense of pride once the process is successfully completed. Just imagine if it was a requirement of your job to feel this good every day! In fact, those who set up their own business often do so as an extension of a hobby or creative process that they already enjoy.

If you are not a natural creator, how can you develop this skill to create more wholeness and inspiration?

Here are some tips:

1. Have a few sessions of Life Coaching to help uncover the things you value most in your life and begin shaping your dreams. Motivational techniques can also be applied if a sense of uncertainty prevents you from taking the steps you need to make.

2. Listen to music that makes you feel good and switch off the news! Often the news is depressing and can put you in a bad state.

3. Make lots of notes. You never know when those good ideas will sneak up on you and if you don’t jot them down, they may be forgotten.

4. Get inspired. Look at other people’s creative work, either in the field you are interested in, or just in the natural environment around you.

5. Do some brainstorming around your chosen idea. This will move it from pie in the sky to the specific steps you will need to make.

6. Read books. Books are great for expanding ideas and are “healthier” for your brain than watching the telly all the darn time!

7. Keep your brain fit by doing crosswords, and quizzes and participating in creative and intelligent conversations.

8. Be healthy in your body. Your mind and your body are linked so you need to look after both. Feed them healthy food and exercise them both.

9. Write a list of how you will feel and how your life will be affected by expressing your creativity. What will it mean to you?

10. When you get an idea, do something about it, before someone else beats you to it!

“Thank you all so much, this has made a positive change in my life.”


By Gemma Bailey


I think a lot of people think resilience is your ability to stay strong in the face of uncertainty or in difficult circumstances. For me, resilience is how quickly and easily you get back up once you’ve been pushed down. When I think about resilience in the context of my own experiences in life, resilience had come about from having some quite negative things happening in my life previously. I have learnt how to survive and come out the other end and I have learnt how to cope with certain situations through developing methods and coping strategies. When things get tough I now know how to deal with it better through previous hardships and how I proceed in a more positive direction.   

Therefore, speaking of things that may contribute towards becoming a resilient person here’s what I think you need: I think you need confidence because if you lack confidence then you’re going to find it very difficult to put into action and employ any sorts of strategies. You might feel like hiding under the duvet and that is not going to be the ideal solution. You need to have enough confidence to get out there and face the world. You’ve got to have the confidence there in the first place to be able to push through difficulty. You also need hope! Hope is super important. You need to believe that you have something worth fighting for so that you don’t get completely overwhelmed by the negative experiences that happen in life. You’ve got to hope that you’ll be okay and you’ve got to have hope that things will turn out all right in the end. 

Overall, I would say you’ve got to just have a quite positive state of mind because the more positive you are the easier it is for you to be creative and resourceful and to think about alternative ways of reframing your circumstances. The more easier it is for you to problem-solve your way through a situation. 

What’s important in developing resilience is not being shy about putting yourself in situations where you might get knocked down and not holding back from situations where you might get knocked back because those knockbacks are you developing a thick skin which will help you to become more resilient and emotionally more tougher. 

While I worked as a manager in a large private day nursery, there was a staff member called Charlotte. Charlotte’s social status was different from mine, I grew up on a council estate, I worked hard to get my diploma to be able to work with children. Charlotte came from a wealthy family and had been given some of the finer things in life which I had to work hard towards i.e first car was a new car and a deposit was put down on her house. I was her manager and I was grafting away to be able to afford my monthly car payments just to get myself to work. I felt resentful not just because of her social status but also because she had a good relationship with her parents.

One day I noticed that she had developed a skin condition called dermatitis. It was on both of our hands and it looked like her skin was falling off and it looked look pretty uncomfortable, to be honest and it was stress related. It took me a while to reframe the beliefs that I was carrying around “she’s got it easier than I have and it’s not fair and I wish I had it that easy”. What I realised was something that for me might be by comparison to all the other stuff quite a low-level problem, for her, it was really significant because it seemed like she’d missed out on the benefits of having tough stuff happen in life. From having tough things happen in your life, you can learn so much and build up your resilience through time and experiences.

When going through tough times, you might feel that the best thing in the world is if you had no problems but if you are a person who can see a silver lining then you can really start to enjoy life a lot more and get a lot more benefits from living it even when it’s really difficult.


By Gemma Bailey

Doing the Right Thing for you!

Ecology is the study of consequences on the wider system. If you imagine that there is a circle and you are inside the circle. Surrounding your circle is a wider circle that contains ‘others’ and surrounding both your circle and the ‘other’s’ circle is a third circle which contains the greater good. When we talk about ecology, we’re looking at those three different circles (you, others and the greater good). If we are thinking about doing the right thing to do, the question we would be asking is, is this good for me, is it good for others and does it serve the greater good? If the answer to any of those questions is ‘No’ then it’s likely there may be trouble ahead.   

It may be that the thing that you want to do, isn’t going to be right for others around you. Sometimes doing the right thing might be right for everybody else but not yourself! This is something I can help you to understand and work through at my therapy practice in Hemel Hempstead.

There will be situations where doing the right thing for yourself instead of doing the right thing for others is okay. This is where it starts to get a bit more complex, it comes down to what happens if you don’t take care of yourself. If you’re on an aircraft and the oxygen mask comes down, you should put your own on before you put on other people’s masks. Because if you’re not going to be in a good place then do you continue to bring value to others? Doing the right thing for yourself first and putting yourself ahead of others might actually be the right thing to do because it may mean that in the future you serve or save others more because you first took care of yourself.

What that means is that sometimes doing the right thing might feel wrong because it may feel as if you are being mean and it might feel as if you are exercising tough love. What I think is really important here is thinking about the longer-term ramifications of the decisions that you take when you are doing or thinking of what the right thing is going to be for you to do. It’s not just about what will this do right now and tomorrow and next week but beyond that and sometimes in doing the right thing, it’s also about taking a risk because we don’t know what the future is going to look like, we can’t plan for that and we can’t think about the implications. A good NLP coach will be able to help you think through the consequences of your decision.

For example, in my other company, we became very successful at writing applications for funding, both for ourselves as a company and also for the other organisations who wanted to apply for funding in order that they could work with us. The downside of doing that whilst I felt very encouraged to do so as it helps low-income families and children, we were breaking the rules. Each organisation should be writing their own application. They shouldn’t have been using an outside bid writer i.e me in order to do it. However, a part of me knows we were serving the greater good and therefore we did the right thing.

The difference between the right thing and the wrong thing is not always as clear as black and white it’s very often in that weird grey area too. 

By Gemma Bailey

Take My Advice

Here is a format for giving good advice. I found this advice on a friend’s Facebook feed and I want to share some of it with you because it’s clever, creative and funny advice. When you give advice to somebody, use modal verbs or in NLP terms, we refer to those as modal operators. These are words such as can, can’t, should, shouldn’t, would, wouldn’t, have and/or haven’t.

Some modal verbs carry more influence than others. For example, ‘should’ sounds quite flexible, doesn’t it? Whereas, the words ‘have to’ is more forceful ‘you have to do this’. I would suggest with modal verbs whilst that’s good advice to use those because they do give flexibility, actually be cautious about which ones you choose because some of them really imply kind of like ‘here’s something you might want to consider’ whereas others are much more directive and ‘you need to do this’.

In my experience of giving advice, there are times when being forceful is appropriate but it’s probably not where you want to start because if you start by giving people forceful advice and the rapport isn’t there, you’re likely to get some resistance. Whereas if you are putting the idea out there with a softer approach, you’re less likely to get resistance but you’re also potentially more likely for them to not follow through because they’re not taking the suggestion as seriously. I would start with a light approach in dealing with them and if they don’t follow through you can then go in all guns blazing! 

Making your advice into a question displaces resistance because the person listening to the advice (the receiver of the advice) has an opportunity to either respond or not because it’s a question.

When we give advice at the hypnotherapy and NLP clinic in Hertfordshire, there may be times when the instruction is more like a command and this needs to be delivered very carefully. If we are being forceful it’s possible to get resistance and lose our rapport and then we don’t have the leverage thereafter. If we start with a question then it’s softer, the person who is receiving the advice feels like they have an opportunity to either take it or not take it but if they don’t take it then we may want to repeat the suggestion with more of a command around the advice that we’re giving and with a more commanding tonality.

When we are advising people we can use questions, statements or commands. The difference between the three lies in your tone of voice. When we ask a question our intonation at the end of the sentence tends to pitch up. Whereas if we’re making a statement then our tone tends to stay on the same melody – our tone doesn’t tend to go up or down at the end our tone stays on the same path. When our pitch goes down at the end of the sentence, this implies that we are being more commanding. One of the best syntaxes that you can use is to combine a question with a commanding tonality. The conscious mind knows not to get offended because it was structured as a question whereas on an unconscious level the command intonation is what’s picked up on recognised and reacted too. 

Next ‘put yourself in the other person’s position’. If someone is asking for your advice it’s useful to imagine yourself being in that person’s position. This is a good way to explain your advice.

In NLP, we have a process called the ‘perceptual positions process’ which does precisely that. You associate into the perspective of somebody else. It’s kind of a role-play exercise and it’s really beneficial for being able to see a problematic situation through the eyes of the person that you’re in the problematic situation with, sometimes when we give advice we do it from our own perspective because that’s easy to do. We know what it’s like to be in our skin and how we might feel or react to a certain situation but it’s less easy to think about it from someone else’s perspective because they’ve got all of their values, their history and their own considerations so just throwing the advice at them actually it might not resonate with them.

Sometimes when we give advice that they may take or leave you can deliver it as ‘I recommend, I would suggest’. This gives them the opportunity to react in the right way – the way that I want them to! If they don’t then the feedback becomes stronger and more commanding and I then take the opportunity to switch it from ‘you could/I would suggest’ to ‘this needs to happen this way’.

Before I leave you some funny and creative advice I also found on my friend’s Facebook:

  • Don’t date anyone whose personality you have to explain to others.
  • Never date someone if they don’t have many friends there’s probably a good reason.
  • When taking the rubbish out use that time to eat your secret sweets or chocolate that you hide away from your kids! 
  • If you have teens listen more than you talk.
  • Always put the toilet seat down when finished.
  • When you’re scrubbing the toilet keep your mouth closed.

I hope that has been amusing and useful for you! 

Gemma Bailey

How Honest Can You Be?

One of the main strategies I give to my clients at the Hypnotherapy and NLP Clinic in Hertfordshire in dealing with annoying people, is to just tell them when they’re being really annoying. This is not always an easy thing to do because we’re worried about hurting people’s feelings. I’m going to give you an example of a time in the past when I did this and I did not do it in the right way because I didn’t manage my own emotional state as I delivered the message.

The best time for you to let someone know that they’re being annoying is not when they’re being annoying in that moment. Your state of annoyance is going to be high and that may come out in your inflexion and your intonation. Here’s my example: I used to work with a lady who who wore ugg boots.

This lady wore the boots whilst we were in Kuwait. Kuwait is the desert – it literally is never cold there but anyway that’s a different thing so she had these ugg boots and they were obviously very, very comfy and very well-loved which is a good thing. The heel of these ugg boots had been like squashed down – there was a crease there.

I used to work in a shoe shop which is maybe why this overly irritated me! The even more annoying thing (probably caused by her foot not being all the way down in the boot) was that she was a shuffler. She really shuffled in these boots. Everywhere in Kuwait was marble and air-conditioned because it’s so hot out there. You go to a shopping mall, It’s like marble flooring air-conditioned. You go to the hotel, marble flooring and air-conditioned like there are no carpets anywhere because it’s too hot.

I think we’re in a shopping centre and all I can tell you is I don’t think I handled this situation as diplomatically as I could have done but I did reach a point where I just abruptly said “Will you pick your feet up?” I snapped and she replied

“oh yeah, yeah these boots always slip off but I am lifting my foot up properly it just sounds like I’m shuffling them”.

I knew that was because her foot wasn’t properly in the boot and that’s why it was slipping off. They were never on in the first place so I kind of got it out of my system which was a good thing and for a little while she made an effort to pick those feet up a little better. The moral of the story is telling the person that they’re being annoying is the right thing to do but don’t do it when you’re feeling annoyed!! NLP therapy Hemel Hempstead can help you with this!

If you’ve got someone in your office who chews gum really loudly then you can tell them whilst they’re chewing the chewing gum but you’re going to have to really watch yourself to make sure that you don’t sound like a rude spiky person like I did when you come to raise the issue with them. Instead what you might choose to do is pick a moment when they’re not chewing, the chewing gum and say

 I love you really deeply and I think that you’re an amazing person and I just have to tell you that when you chew chewing gum with your mouth open and it makes that chompy noise. It makes me want to kill you and I just thought that you should know that.”

It might be a good idea not to pick these exact words unless you are close friends, but otherwise, you can think of a more diplomatic way in which to get the message across but telling them is definitely a good suggestion. CBT Hemel Hempstead can give you the strategies you need.

by Gemma Bailey 


How to React When Under Attack

This month’s article is all about how to manage situations where you feel under attack. I’m talking about where you suddenly get back footed – in a meeting or a conversation and you were not expecting that to happen. I had this happen to me really recently and I want to tell you about it…

Here’s my story: Two social workers came to see me as I had some safeguarding concerns that had arisen in my mother’s care home. However, when I sat down with them it became apparent that they did not really want to talk about that, in fact, what they wanted to talk to me about was the fact that my Mum had moved into a care home and whether or not I had put her there against her will. I very quickly realised that this was not a ‘let’s talk about the safeguarding issue’, but in fact, it was an interrogation of me!

Immediately, in my brain, I could hear myself thinking ‘why they asking me all these questions?’ and as I got myself flustered I started to kind of loose information from my brain. In fact, there’d been one specific challenge that my Mum had been experiencing which was a great example of the safeguarding issue. As they began asking me questions, I was still so stunned that we were having a meeting about something else entirely, I couldn’t find any examples to back up what I wanted to say and as soon as they’ve left I had a ton of them!

What we need to be able to do in these situations is to keep calm and find ways to be able to come up with the right responses, even though we might have gone in to fight, flight or freeze mode. If you think that learning some skills like that would be useful to you then keep reading!

Number one is a really simple NLP and hypnotherapy technique! You can just start to tell a story around the thing that you are talking about, you know, maybe backtrack in history and start to give all of the information and fluff that you would ordinarily cut out. What this is – it’s you buying yourself some time. Whilst you’re coming up with fluff you can also be thinking in your head about other important things like the most important things that you want to be able to say about the situation. Another way that you can pad is to get halfway through doing that and then pause and go “I’m so sorry, I’ve completely forgotten what the question was?”

As part of our padding, we can also ask them to repeat the question because once again it buys you more time to think about what you’re saying to catch your breath and to calm yourself down. These are all communication strategies that you learn in NLP. The chances are that whilst you’re trying to think and talk at the same time you might get yourself built up into a bit more of a frenzy, whereas, if you ask them to repeat the question, you can catch your breath compose yourself and start to really think.

Number two is for you to ask questions of them. This serves two purposes! Once again, it gives you some thinking time whilst they reel off whatever the answer to your questions might be but most importantly from a psychological perspective that gives both you and them the opportunity to get the sense of regaining control of this interaction. In my therapy practice in Hertfordshire, we practice these skills together in NLP Sessions. Typically, we think of the person who is asking the questions is the one who is directing or leading the conversation so by you starting to ask some questions of your own it’s a bit like when your dog puts his paw on top of your hand and says ‘I’m taking charge here’. It’s the same sort of thing. You are saying actually I’m going to take charge of this situation for a moment so that you internally give yourself a bit of a confidence boost, in knowing that, you are taking control of this situation and maybe you start to get them to back off a little bit because they realise that perhaps you’re going to be a bit more feisty to deal with and anticipated.

Number three is to backtrack. If you suddenly remember stuff. The last thing you want to have happened is to walk away from that exchange as I did on Friday thinking “why didn’t I say this?, why didn’t I say that?”. What you should do at that moment is to say “sorry, but just actually, I just remembered something. I’m really sorry to interrupt you but in the beginning, you asked me about this and it’s just popped back into my brain that I didn’t add this in and I just wanted to add this because I think it might be important now”.

If the conversation is over and you have parted company go back to the conversation if you can. For me, it could be a follow-up email or a letter that I send where I say “remember when you asked me that question about the difference between NLP and Hypnosis and I didn’t seem to have an answer at the time. I’m sorry I just got myself a bit flustered because I wasn’t expecting the meeting to be going like that but here is the answer to your question just so that you have the information that you were looking for that day”.

Don’t be afraid to backtrack and go back to a point if you feel that you haven’t explained yourself properly. It could be really important that you do that!

My favourite tip is number four and that is to say “three things….” I do this a lot! It can sometimes shoot you in the foot because at the point when you say “three things…”, you probably haven’t got three things! You might have one but as a result of putting that little bit of pressure on your brain, it causes you at times to be able to generate some more ideas. I will start talking about whatever thing number one was which was probably the only one that I had in mind at that time but very often by the time I’ve got to talking about thing one my brain has come up with what thing two should be and then I can add that in.

Sometimes, if I haven’t got a thing number three I’ll go back to number one again and say it again. It causes your brain to go into more of a thinking and searching mode but it also means for the person that you are interacting with, that you’re not just kind of coming up with one of the answers. You are really thinking about what it is that they’re asking you, even though they might have completely caught you on the back foot and they were thinking that they were going to catch you out.

You’ve just shown them that mentally –  you are prepared for this and that you can come up with reasonable responses to what they are asking you. My final tip is, to be honest about your emotion at that moment. It’s okay for you to say ‘I’m sorry if my voice is starting to sound a bit shaking. I just wasn’t expecting to have this conversation today. I feel like you’ve caught me on the back foot and actually, now I feel unprepared. Don’t take it personally, but I just needed you to know that. Sorry, what was your question?”.

Express and share the emotion that you’re feeling with them because if you do then become upset at least you’ve re-framed it with them and have justified why is your feeling the way in which you are feeling – show your emotions and to explain why it is. At my NLP therapy practice in Hertfordshire, you’ll learn more about expressing emotions.

Gemma Bailey

Taking On Other People’s Problems (and how to avoid it)

People automatically and without realising it, become very talented at moving their
problems through time, space and energy. You might know someone, we all do, who is
particularly good at generalising and stating that things always work out this way, or
everybody does this or that.

We all do generalise, it is part of the filtering that our mind generates in order for us to
get rid of information that comes into our mind that it is not relevant to us, or not
important to us.

Despite these generalisations sometimes being inaccurate (because it’s probably not
everybody, it’s probably not always) we continue to use this kind of language for ease in
our communication. But is it causing us problems sometimes?

Do these generalisations trip us up sometimes? Do they trip us up when we are using
them in our own language or perhaps when we believe the generalisations of others? If
this is a problem you experience, it might be worth getting some hypnotherapy or NLP
sessions to help you with this.

Those who generalise are being inaccurate some of the time because they continue to
apply the rules to all occasions, painting their generalisation paint brush over a greater
space than the original image and blurring the edges of the picture of reality. So,
generalisations do distort things for us. Although it does make our communication much

Perhaps you know someone (and if you don’t then it is probably you!) who moves
problems from the past onto others. They like to share their story. To share their pain,
zap their own energy and quite possibly zap yours at the same time too.

So, a classic example of this could be. I have a terrible headache today. You know what
it is like when your head is just pounding and you start to feel sick and as soon as you
hear the words, well you know what it’s like. Unless you are an absolute ninja in mind
voodoo then you start trying on the pain mentioned to see if you see if you do know how
it feels to have that pounding headache. When you do that you’re probably not getting
yourself into a particularly good state. This is not a useful thing for you to do. So, it
means the person you are communicating with has very effectively moved their own pain
through space, through time, out of them and into you. NLP strategies can protect you
form this.

Now to be fair, of course, you do always have choices about whether you decide to pick
up that pain and ‘try it on’ and to avoid doing so, you will need to become a bit more
self-aware. Some of it comes from you being a better listener, instead of just nodding
your head in the right places and falling into their state with them. You don’t have to
take other people’s pain on. If for example, I have a pen and I give you that pen and say
here I have a pen for you as a gift please take it and I give it to you and you take it. Who
owns the pen? Of course, you do, you own the pen, I just gave it to you.

Now, if that pen was my anger, or my aches and pains, or my sadness and I came to you
and said here, here is my sadness, let me tell you all about it. I want to give you this
information as a gift and you take it and make yourself feel sad then it’s your problem.

So, remember you do have the opportunity and you do have the option to say, ‘no thank
you I do not want your gifts!’ Be aware of the people who do that to you, who you do
that to, and that problems can be moved through energy. They can be moved from one
person to the next, to the next. It’s a bit like laughter, it’s contagious. But that’s a very
good thing, but sometimes so is misery and that is not a good thing at all.

The Hypnotherapy and NLP Clinic provides Hypnotherapists and NLP coaches in
Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex and Coventry to help with the
management of stress, anxiety and depression.

For more information about our free consultations and sessions, contact us on 0203

By Gemma Bailey