Tag Archives: therapy

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

Break Your Bad Habits

Having just looked at a list of bad habits posted on the internet, I can honestly say that whilst they are habitual repetitive behaviours, many of them are also disgusting. One site listed nail biting, throat clearing, lying, interrupting, chewing the end of a pen, smoking and swearing in its top 20 list of bad habits. And that’s not to mention knuckle-cracking and thumb-sucking.

Habits are formed when behaviour is consistently repeated. Eventually, it becomes an unconscious behaviour, that is, you can do it without thinking about it. In just the way your unconscious controls your blinking, breathing and walking without you having to remember to make it happen, it also takes over responsibility for activating the habit.

In a sense, the levels of competency go some way to explaining how this unconscious activity is created:

  • Unconscious Incompetence- Not knowing about it and not doing it. (Ignorant)
  • Conscious Incompetence- Knowing what needs to be done but unable to do it, lack of skill required.
  • Conscious Competence- Knowing what needs to be done and having to think about how to do it, in order to do it.
  • Unconscious Competence- Knowing what you need to do, and being able to do it without consciously thinking about how it is done.

We can see by looking at the levels of competency process, how a positive behaviour such as learning to drive, for example, is taken through the above stages so that it shifts from conscious activity, into an unconscious one. The problem with this process is that the unconscious mind will not distinguish between a good habit and a bad one. When learning to drive, this is generally a beneficial habit to master, and biting your nails for example is not.

However, the unconscious simply responds to the programming it is given. It does make a distinction about whether it is right for you or not. The more times you repeat the behaviour, the more hard-wired the behaviour becomes, good or bad.

This means that in order to break a bad habit, its automatic function of it needs to be bought back into the awareness of the conscious mind, in order to give the conscious a choice about whether to continue with the action. This could be enough for some to break their pattern, yet for others, even though when they are conscious of the habit, may continue to pursue it. For example, many people who smoke and know that they should give up, are aware of the cigarettes they light up and inhale. Worse than that, they are even conscious of what they are doing to their depleting immune system as they do it- and still they continue- why?!

The answer is that they get some sort of a payoff. An opportunity to be destructive and release some tension by biting your nails, or a moment to drift off and take a break from the busyness of work when having a fag. In the great scheme of things, it’s important to note that these payoffs are of course only temporary. They only alleviate pressures for a short amount of time and usually come with a downside, such as ultimately damaging your health, the way you look, the way you feel, or the way people respond to you.

NLP techniques are great for helping to get “leverage” for applying pain to the unwanted problem and pleasure to the solution. Anchoring techniques can provide an instant desired state to relieve tension for example so that it is no longer achieved by performing the habit. Hypnosis can be used to reprogram the unconscious part of the mind, linking unsavoury feelings to unwanted behaviour (for example feeling sick if you go to put your fingers in your mouth to bite your nails) and forming new habits to deal with stressful/ boredom situations in a new empowering way.

To book a free initial consultation with a licensed Practitioner in NLP, Hypnotherapy and Hypnosis, Please contact us at 0203 6677294.


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

Christmas is Coming and The People are Getting Fat

How we can avoid these foods that are not terribly good for us and why on earth is it is
that sometimes we just can’t?!

There’s a reason why we are drawn towards the crisps and the chocolate and the chips
and all of those foods that we know are naughty and full of fats.

The reason is that those foods are really good fuel foods. The fatty foods give us fat
for our body that we can hang on to and can use them as long-term fuel and the reason
why that’s appealing to us is because instinctively rooting way back to our ancestry
there was a time in the past when the person who caught the fattiest piece of meat,
who shot the fattiest zebra or whatever our ancient ancestors may have been out
hunting for were the people who survived the longest.

So, it’s instinctive to us it’s in our genetic makeup that we are drawn towards these
fatty foods because in the past the person who got the fat was the person who survived.
Fat is the richest source of energy with more than twice the energy value of any other
nutrient. Alcohol is the only other nutrient that comes close and interesting, isn’t it,
that this time of year is also alcohol-fueled as well for many people.

Not only are we eating the fatty greasy foods and building up our fat supply that way but
we also tend to be drinking lots of alcohol and building up even more fat reserves as a
the result of doing that. If you can get on top of that now, you don’t have to worry about
doing the whole big weight loss starved diet stuff, signing up for the gym stuff, in the
New Year.

It’s a biological respect for fat that makes it so hard for people to defeat fat cravings.

There’s a big link as well which is coming to the surface between people’s stress levels
and the desire to eat fatty foods and this is another thing for us to be aware of at this
time of year because it’s this time of year probably the most stressful time of year there
is. At a psychological level, the emotional comfort that fatty food has played in life can
drive you towards things like chocolate on a bad day because when you were crying like a
a child, you were comforted with fatty and sweet foods. Now that might not always be the
case but if you go way back to when you were a baby, quite often parents would try to
calm a crying baby by offering it milk and certainly a mother’s milk is incredibly sweet
and very, very high in fat so we’ve learned from a young age that if we’re feeling
emotional in some way that we’ve got some kind of upset or negative emotion going on
that that can be reduced by having access to these fatty foods just as we have the fatty
milk as babies.

However, at a biological level under stress, we tend to use our adrenaline system in that
fight or flight mode. And fatty foods stimulate dopamine and noradrenaline which are
both responsible for giving us a rush to cope with a crisis. So, if we’re feeling stressed
out then the fatty foods can really give us that little kick that we might need. So, if
we’re going to combat this, particularly if we look at the kind of stress levels element of
it then we need to get into the habit of pausing that stress before reacting and reaching
for the chocolate biscuits or reaching for the extra mince pie.

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

And Sleep!

The longer that you go without a proper sleep routine and without having sufficient
amounts of sleep, the more likely it is that you are going to then start suffering with
sleep related problems.

E.E.G. recordings show that we go through five stages of sleep, with each of its
characteristic brain activities. So, it’s all got its own individual brain activity. Stage one
is the transition stage from wakefulness to sleep and is identified with beta waves and
lasts between one to seven minutes.

In stage two E.E.G. recordings show fast frequency bursts of activity called sleep
spindles. In stage two through to four, muscle tension, heart rate, respiration and
temperature gradually decline and it becomes more difficult to be awakened. Just thirty
minutes after falling asleep, we pass through Stage three and enter into Stage four. In
this stage E.E.G. recordings show delta waves and it is the deepest stage of sleep. There
is marked secretion of growth hormones in Stage four.

Sleep researchers determine what sleep stage a person is in by the ratio between the
number of sleep spindles and the number of delta waves. After this stage we go back to
two and then we enter REM Sleep, the rapid eye movement sleep. Here E.E.G. tracings
look exactly the same as the beta waves that are observed when we are completely
awake. In fact, brain imaging studies show that the neurones in the cerebral cortex
become much more active during our REM Sleep and REM Sleep makes up twenty percent
of our sleep time. During this stage we experience vivid dreams. We go through this
sleep cycle five to six times during eight hours of sleep.

It’s also true that lots of you will kind of come out of that sleep cycle and actually be
almost awake or even awake throughout the night but you go back off to sleep again so
quickly that by the morning you forget it even happened. Other people are more aware
that they wake up several times throughout the night and for me personally, I’m
someone who when I’m asleep, I am asleep. It feels like I sleep for about five minutes
and then the alarm goes off, even though it might have been several hours and I have no
recollection of ever having woken at any stage during the night.

Some animals have really interesting sleep cycles. Some birds sleep for brief periods
with one eye closed and for that short moment it’s suggested that one hemisphere of
their brain shows waves that indicate sleeping and the other side shows signs of
wakefulness. Elephants sleep for three to six hours of which two hours are spent
standing. Dolphins sleep with only half its brain while the other half remains alert. The
two hemispheres alternate every one to three hours during sleep. Dolphins kept in
aquariums usually swim in circles in the same direction during sleep. There is no solid
evidence of whether animals dream, which brings us to the dream world of human

So what kind of sleeper are you?

If you are suffering from insomnia or other sleep related problems, it might be time to
use hypnotherapy to reprogram your sleep patterns.

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

Using NLP to Get rid of Anger

The best thing about NLP is the way in which one can covertly weave it to an everyday focus and conversation and spin it into something more resourceful. You can talk to people and be NLPing them, without them even knowing it is happening.

I was out with a friend of mine in Hertfordshire, North London who had recently separated from her boyfriend. We knew that on this particular evening out, there was the possibility of bumping in to the ex-boyfriend so she was in a bit of a wound-up state. As we sat with our bottle of wine in the pub, a song came on in the background as my friend began to tune into it aware of the familiarity of it, she started to cry. Through the blubs and wales she explained that it had been their song – her and the ex-boyfriend’s and that she still loved him so much. It’s a good job I’m an NLP therapist and not a counsellor because sympathy just isn’t my thing. I reached over and touched her on the shoulder and said “It’s all going to be fine and I am sure he was an idiot anyway.”

This was closely followed by a snot-filled rage in which she exclaimed how she couldn’t believe how he had treated her, how could he do this etc and how much she hated him.

When this stage kicked in I quickly withdrew my comforting hand. Those of you who know NLP would have identified that I had accidentally anchored her melancholy state to her shoulder. You might think this was a bad thing. The truth is it would have been if I had not utilised it resourcefully later on. Really, I should skip the part where I tell you that this all happened by accident, and make out this entire event happened completely on purpose as a result of my marvellous skill set, but that wouldn’t be totally true!

Later on, we went to a Hertfordshire night club and guess who showed up? At this moment in time, there were several reactions she could have gone for and I thought she might go for blubbering wreck but to my surprise and his she launched into straight into snot-filled rage.

As she catapulted herself towards him, I spotted an expression in his face. In NLP we like to be very clear about the difference between a sensory observation and a hallucination. A hallucination is when you think you know what you have seen in the other person. The sensory based observation of the ex-boyfriend was this: His eyes widened. His jaw lowered. His skin tone became more pale. His forehead began to sweat. He became short of breath. The hallucination of what I saw, I will call ‘man having fear of ex-girlfriend’.

At this moment I grabbed her shoulder, yes, the same one as earlier and said something like: “I know that this isn’t the real feeling you are feeling towards him, isn’t it?” The snot-filled rage fizzled and vanished and the melancholy of earlier returned, though without the crying.

They had a conversation about staying friends and it was all okay. When she popped to the loo a little later he came over and spoke to me. He said: “I have no idea what strange therapy you did to her but you did something. She was ready to kill me and you diffused her somehow. How did you do that?”

At that point I realised what I had done. I realised I really could help others using NLP.


By Gemma Bailey