If you have been following me for a while you will know that hypnotherapy is a topic very dear to my heart. This is the therapy that has helped me heal past traumas and become the healthy person I am today.
So this weekend I invited a friend of mine, Gemma Stovold, to talk to us about what is hypnotherapy, how it works and how it can help you feel better. We also talked about the other benefits of hypnotherapy.
Health warning, we did digress a little into the power of reframing, i.e. changing the script of your story, so that you can see the plus side of a difficult situation, and I ended up sharing in details the story of my miscarriage and how I reframed it to mean something positive to me (28 minutes into the interview).
I hope you will find this interview interesting.
To get in touch with Gemma or find out more about hypnotherapy: http://gemmaannehypnotherapy.co.uk/
If you have enjoyed this interview, you might also like this one: https://memyhealthandi.org/interview-with-hawai-kaa-on-creative-visualisation/
Emilie: Hello everybody! Welcome to Me My Health and I channel. I am Emilie Marie Berge and today I would like to introduce you to Gemma Stovold who is a hypnotherapist. What we do on this channel if you’re new is that we explore different types of therapies or different types of other things that can help you if you are experiencing depression or anxiety. So, today we are focusing on hypnotherapy and I have got Gemma here. And I’m not going to say anything because I think you can tell your story so much better than me, and I absolutely love your story so please go into the details. So can you tell us a little bit about your journey and how you have actually become and why you became a hypnotherapist?
Gemma: Okay, well, thank you Emilie, thank you for having me today, it’s a real pleasure to be here. Well for me, when I went into the world of work, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do at all. So in fact I graduated, I did a P.G.C.E., I then worked as a buyer in purchasing for eight years, working for various different companies. And I sort of began to think to myself that this really wasn’t for me, doing that particular job. And I started to wonder about what else might be a possibility. And actually, funnily enough, my sister has had reflexology for a sort of rheumatoid arthritis associated condition and had told me about reflexology. But actually I was also really looking to just completely change my career and change the focus of my life. Because I, myself, had actually experienced anxiety and depression from about the age of 13 or 14 at school. And I’ve had an experience at school which has been quite unsettling for me relating to a particular teacher. And it seemed that this had triggered something which was cyclical
and I suppose that at the time, I really was thinking that I just wanted to do something different with my life and have a different purpose in my life. And this conversation with my sister kind of sparked an idea and I realized that I could train as a hypnotherapist and at the same time carry on with my work. So I did find a course in Little Hampton and I was able to do that at the weekends. It’s so enjoyable to train as a reflexologist, and the very same lady, Susie Jennings, also helped me to learn indian head massage and Reiki as well, subsequently over the next sort of four or five years. So I began this new sort of experience, whilst working part-time in other roles.
and I then decided in 2011…
Emilie: I said, did you already have the kids when you were doing all of this
Gemma: Well I didn’t, I actually got married in 2006, and then I had Olivia, my daughter, in 2008. So I had been training as a reflexologist, in fact I just trained in indian head massage just before we got married. I think I’ve done Reiki by then as well.
Emilie:Yes, very impressive, yeah.
Gemma: Yeah, I think as well, it worked because I was enjoying it so much and this was all such a fascinating area and still, you know, there is always so much more to learn in this whole kind of wonderful world. So yes, so then I thought to myself ”I’m loving this reflexology but I’d like to understand a bit more about how the mind works here and what’s going on when people are wanting to feel better”, wanting to really sort of, I don’t know, have that kind of well-being and peace of mind and that feeling of control over what they’re doing. So that sort of led me into hypnotherapy as well as the fact that I’d had it myself and just thought it was just amazing.
And so I started a course in London with the London School of Clinical Hypnosis and then shortly after that, I got pregnant with Daniel who’s now nine, well nearly nine. So I was like “Okay, right, I’ll have to just stop this here for a while”. Well, it did stop for a while, in fact it stopped until 2017.
So six years later, I then rediscovered or rather felt motivated to find another course. And it was actually solution-focused hypnotherapy that really resonated with me and, actually, was down the road in Guildford, so everything seemed to be perfect. So that was that and then, you know, a year later, I qualified, met some fantastic people and then have been sort of doing hypnotherapy and still the reflexology and the other therapies as well since then. And also I do work part-time as a teacher, well, a learning support assistant in an infant school, so it’s quite busy at the moment!
Emilie: It is quite busy! And so the question about what the hypnotherapist
training, do you do some work on yourself when you do that training?
Gemma: Absolutely, very much so, and that’s such a good question because
I think one of the things I like the most about that solution-focused hypnotherapy course was just how practical it was, and how much work we would do on each other, and that the whole thing came to life very much as a practical skill. And of course there’s theory to learn, of course there is,
but it’s so much about that rapport, that interaction between two people and experiencing hypnosis and just that deep, relaxed, you know, that sort of deep relaxation feels like, which is very nice. And how that helps to kind of focus the mind on where we really want to be rather than being kind of taken back into the past where we don’t want to be anymore perhaps.
Emilie: Yeah, or being scared of the future which is what anxiety does to you as well.
Gemma: Absolutely, yes, so just really trying to kind of exist in that moment
and enjoy that experience. And have the confidence to know that we’re, you know, we’re heading in the right direction here. It’s all going to be fine.
Emilie: Yes, no, absolutely, I love it. So, in your opinion, how can hypnotherapy help someone who is experiencing either depression or anxiety?
Gemma: Absolutely, well, the great thing is that it really can, which is wonderful, because you know, it just, it just has this incredible effectiveness.
And I think one of the first things that it does, and does almost regardless of what the particular objective is, is that it improves sleep. So that kind of natural rem, which is the brain processing and gaining control over emotions that might be uncomfortable, you know, enabling us to just get that balance back, so that the sleep first of all is better. And that’s a really helpful thing often, to just begin to reduce those anxiety levels, to empty the stress bucket and really begin to be able to sort of look in a calm, fresh, balanced way at the beginning of every day. So that’s the first sort of premise, in a way and then, of course, from there being able to look at, you know, exactly as you said before, this notion that anxiety is caused by this negative introspection about the past and the negative forecasting of the
future, which is all within the mind and it’s imagination. But the mind can’t really tell the difference between imagination and reality. So, if I begin to imagine the worst case scenario 50 or 60 times before I go ahead and have that meeting or go and, you know, do that thing that I’m a bit frightened of, then I’ve already increased my anxiety levels to such an extent that I’ve just spent a lot of time worrying about it. And so what hypnotherapy really enables us to do better is to stay in this part of the mind, this cortex, this prefrontal cortex which is our human intellectual, positive, rational mind that always looks for the best possible outcome based on whatever is in front of us. As opposed to this kind of primitive, subconscious, incredibly powerful part of the brain which is there to protect us and to warn us of a danger or a potential problem. But actually it’s not really assessing the situation in a rational way, it’s just sort of saying “danger”, you know, and then we have this kind of fight flight stress response… That probably isn’t useful most of the time in our lives unless there really is an imminent danger. And so it starts to work on, you know, the actual relaxation itself, the hypnosis then allows the mind to exist where it wants to exist which is in this cortex… In this positive mind. And actually, I know with your, you know, experience of running and, you know, really living well. That really comes into play with hypnotherapy as well. Because what we know is that early man and early women were motivated to do certain things.
Emilie: They were motivated to think positively, to act positively which encompasses, you know, making good decisions about diet and also exercise and interact positively with other people. And obviously that’s been highlighted with the current kind of backdrop, it’s “How do we interact? How can we maintain those kind of positive interactions?”
Gemma: And those behaviors actually increase serotonin which we know as that happy hormone. And when we do all of those things, we generally feel pretty good. And it’s just sustaining that, it’s sustaining those good habits, those good behaviors that really keep all of us where we want to be, in that positive part of our mind.
Emilie: Absolutely and I think you’re completely right, this is, you know what I do with, you know, with my clients in coaching, it’s all about how can they switch their mind back to positivity, you know, what can they, how can they improve their routine, so that they have these positive actions daily that are happening, because that will increase the serotonin, that will make them feel good. So yeah, absolutely, absolutely. So what you think is you can control that through hypnosis?
Gemma: What the hypnosis does is that it sort of, because it’s encouraging that emptying of the stress bucket, it’s encouraging us to stay in the right part of the mind and stay in the here and now. Doing less of that, you know, that future worry, that negative looking back. And so, by doing that, we just take back the control and you regain control. And then, you know, by increasing the serotonin levels. Trance actually replicates rem, that process that we have during sleep that empties our stress bucket. So whilst we’re sleeping, whilst we’re in trance, in fact whilst we’re daydreaming, going for a run or doing one of those kind of activities that gets you into the zone. For some people it might be painting, it might be, you know, playing football. But being in that kind of focused but relaxed state of mind increases that level of serotonin. And so it also helps us to feel motivated and it’s that motivation that really gets us where we want to be, and actually that’s a really crucial part of hypnotherapy and what you’re saying because it’s always, it gives the power back. Instead of it being like this magic bullet, you know : “Wow! I’m going to go under and I’m going to just wake up and everything in my world would be miraculously better.” It isn’t that unfortunately, you know, it really is saying to somebody “You really have the power to change things in any way that you want to.” And it’s just taking that first small step towards that goal that’s often the hardest step but most important, and then, after that, it just begins to get gradually a little bit easier.
Emilie: Yeah. And I think that that’s a very important point that you’re making because I think people who are really suffering from depression or anxiety at a high level go into the victim mindset of “There is nothing I can do, this is how I am.” and it’s the depression or the anxiety talking by the way, it’s not them. But they’ve got that voice always going like, you know :
“There’s nothing that I can do to get out of it.” and I think the first step is often calling a counselor or therapist and I know that when you’ve done that first step, you’ve already won it’s half the battle because you’ve suddenly realized that actually, there is at least one thing you can do is ask for help. And, you know, often, when some people commit suicide and the people around them said “We never saw it coming”, it’s exactly that, it’s because those people stayed in their heads the entire time and never asked for help. There could have been signs but they weren’t saying anything so that they never got helped. And I think, so what we want to do is obviously not get there, but I think the the first step is ask for for help. You know, like moving towards control. But what people don’t realize because they think:
“Oh you know, with talking therapy it’s a lot of hard work.”, and a lot of hard work because you are in your conscious mind. Right, you go to hypnotherapy, people think like “Oh, it’s the therapist who does all the work, I’m not doing anything.”, and I think that’s not true; they’re all doing the work. I mean a hypnotherapy session is just as draining, if not more, because thanks to the hypnotherapy, you go deeper into your mind. Do you go into your unconscious mind or subconscious mind?
Gemma: Absolutely, unconscious, subconscious. Yeah, that primitive part.
Emilie: Yeah exactly, and so that allows you to get deeper into the work, but it’s also more knackering really.
Gemma: That’s it, yeah, absolutely.
Emilie: Yeah. But I know for me that’s where I got the best results because it was… I just needed that.
Gemma: Absolutely, you know, so much of that resonates very, very strongly and powerfully with what hypnotherapy is and can do. Absolutely, it really is spot on and and I think that’s right, you know, I think it is that first step that’s the hardest. But equally the most rewarding. And that ability to just say “Yeah, I need help? I need help.” And then, you know, once the sessions sort of get underway, and the great thing is that the sessions take the same kind of format. And I think often people will come to a session thinking that all of the wonderful magic happens during the relaxation, and of course that’s what feels so wonderful. By the time you have done that sort of 20 min, half an hour of talking, you’re really ready, not to be asked any more questions, just to kind of lie down and just let it all kind of sink into your subconscious mind. But in fact, the hard work has already been done, the change work has already happened in that process of re-evaluating, reframing, looking differently at the problem. And sometimes understanding that actually, in order to move forward in life, we really don’t end up having to solve the problem as we see it. That feeling of, you know “How can I get out of this horrible feeling of depression or anxiety?”, this state of mind that can sometimes make us feel as though we’re the only ones that have ever experienced this in the whole world.
Emilie: Okay. So actually, that makes that, there was a question that I wanted to ask you on this. Because… So sorry, actually, before I ask you that question, we were talking about how the hard work is done at the beginning when you’re doing the reframing. Yeah and that’s it, that’s very interesting because that’s something that I use with my clients actually quite a lot, you know : “Look at the situation and then how can I change that? What have I learned from this? How could I look at it differently?”.
Gemma: Absolutely, yeah.
Emilie: Yeah and I think often have people who come to me and talk about, you know, how breakups or separations have affected them. And quite often I’m kind of like: “Well if you turn it around and look at the fact that
you have left a bad marriage or you have left a situation where you were being abused. Actually what you need to take from that is that you are a strong person”
Emilie: But, you know, it’s sometimes very hard to do that work yourself, you sometimes need to be guided through that reframing.
Gemma: Very much so, very much so because it can be hard to see the wood for the trees sometimes, when you’re very much within that moment, that difficult moment. Excuse me. And you know you are moving away from something but perhaps just still finding the emotion and the negative emotion, it’s just difficult to control. And I think that that’s very, very normal, and again, you know, normalizing that is a big part of this session.
Emilie: Yeah, absolutely.
Gemma: So that people understand that, you know, feeling really well again is the gradual process. Not kind of an overnight miracle. Even though, actually, something that you said really kind of resonated in what we do, in that change way, in that first sort of part of the session because it really is about asking that question, which is quite a simple but powerful question. You know, you go to bed at night and a fairy comes and sprinkles that fairy dust over you. And a miracle happens and you wake up in the morning and you notice that something is different. Something is different and you ask what is different. And, you know, often this question involves lots of other questions in order to sort of really drill down to that one positive action that can be taken, that’s within our control, that’s within their control to take. And that’s so refreshing in a way because I think sometimes, we just think “I just want to feel better, I just want to feel happier!” And then the frustration can come from “How do I do that ” and, you know, that’s a nice way of taking something because how we do it is often very, very small steps, small steps that just kind of snowball into something more powerful
and more meaningful and that has that kind of energy and motivation behind it.
Gemma: Yeah. And it’s nice to kind of see that gradual, almost like gradual realization of “Ah!”, you know, “this is how I do it”. And we can talk and analyze and understand something but when somebody really feels it and they really know it because they feel it and they understand that process. And the mind has really understood because we, you know, in this therapy we say that, really, we have to be told something. The brain needs to be told something, subconscious mind, but 7 to 11 times for that really to sink in and become, we could say, a belief or a good habit, something that we do automatically, something that we don’t have to think about very much.
Emilie: Yeah, no, absolutely. And so there’s something you said that I wanna
pick up on because it was very… it made so much sense to me and that’s something I keep repeating on social media all the time is that : “Feeling good, it’s a process and it’s pitching these baby steps, these little actions that will be good for you as a person, so not everyone has the same”. And you mentioned for me, you know, my healthy lifestyle and, you know, going for a run. Those are actions that I take regularly because I know that they are increasing serotonin and all of this, you know, feel good hormones, and then on the long term I feel great because my entire day is filled of small steps that makes me feel good. But I didn’t, I wasn’t always there, you know, I started if like “Oh I just included one thing.” And I made one change and I tweaked my lifestyle very slowly over the last four years to get to that stage where now my life is geared up for well-being. But it wasn’t that, you know, it wasn’t like that before. And so, one quote I heard many years ago that really explained it all to me was … Paraphrasing it : “Ordinary actions don’t consistently create extraordinary results.” You don’t get to here in five minutes, you start by doing, you know, one run, and then two days later, you go for another run, and two three days later, you go for another one and then, you know, one day you would be able to run a marathon.
Emilie: You don’t just go into a marathon.
Gemma: That’s right.
Emilie: You’re gonna struggle.
Gemma: That’s so true! And, you know, it is that consistency of approach and that, you know, encouragement of that sort of discipline over a period of time and accepting that it is a gradual process and it can be, it’s probably not linear, it might sometimes feel as though you’re taking two steps forward and a step backwards or going sometimes in a wiggly line but that’s fine. Because once you have that feeling of: “Right, yeah, this is something that’s good for me, it feels good!” We’re encouraged to do it again and again and again and again…
Gemma: So, you know, that’s a really a really good point and I think sometimes that it’s really enabling us to sort of view those everyday problems of life in a different way, you know, they come along it’s that idea of, you know, not waiting for the storm to pass but literally learning how to dance in the rain because when you feel good and when you feel positive, it’s not constant all the time but having that knowledge that you’ve overcome problems and hurdles that are normal everyday things, it gives you the confidence to know that you can do it again and again and again.
Emilie: Yes, “Learning how to dance in the rain.”, I love that.
Gemma: Yeah, I like that one, I feel very sort of connected to that one. Because actually, it all depends upon how we’re looking at that thing in front of us, you know. And can we look at it with a bit of humor sometimes? Even, you know, laughing at ourselves and in the therapy session, we can laugh, be light-hearted, it can be funny and fun. As well as obviously serious too, and something that we are taking seriously but equally, it can be fun as well.
Emilie: And I’m glad you’ve made that point because that’s actually going to be the topic of one of my next group coaching sessions: “The importance of having fun” because when you were in that space of laughter and fun, your mind switched, you know. And you’re getting all of these feel good hormones but also for a few minutes, you’re getting relief from the depression that you’ve been feeling and suddenly it reminds you that actually, you can have like one or two minutes of a happiness even if you’re very depressed. And so the idea is that once you get that and you’re like
“Oh, hang on, I was happy for two seconds just there, what happened?”
and then repeat that…
Gemma: Yeah, absolutely.
Emilie: Then you’ve noticed and then you repeat, very important, yes.
Gemma: Definitely very very important, absolutely, yeah
Emilie: And then, you know, in terms of the reframing, there’s something else I wanted to share with you, I can’t remember if I told you this story before but, you know, the most important reframing that I’ve done actually happened at the time when I was seeing a counselor. So, I was, you know, back in Denmark about six years ago. I was very very depressed and I was having talking therapies sessions at the time, and I was seeing a C.B.T. therapist. And I got accidentally pregnant. And so she helped me with that,
and to deal with it and how I made the decision, like, within one minute that I was not going to have an abortion, even though I was single, so I had to get my head around all of that. And then I was pregnant with twins and I had a double miscarriage… Within three months. So I was still seeing my therapist during the entire time. And what was brilliant is that we reframed the miscarriage because the pregnancy had triggered a recovery process that I didn’t know I was able of. Because I was in that place, that I was so, so low, so depressed, I was suicidal back then, and suddenly being pregnant I was like “Oh, oh, this isn’t about me anymore, this is about someone else and I need to get my myself back in here and I need to like…”. So I think it’s this, you know, an old instinct that kicks in I think, double hormones as well with twins so… I think that got me into a certain place.
Emilie: And so, you know, like, suddenly for a few weeks I was back on track, I was eating well, I was exercising lightly, I was really focusing on, you know, like, my body doesn’t belong to me right now, it belongs to my baby. So, and I didn’t know because obviously, I didn’t know I had twins until the miscarriage. So, It was like this, you know, “What do I need to do?”, and so, I suddenly started to treat myself extremely well…
Emilie: Which I was completely unable to do before. My entire life, you know, diet, quit smoking, quit drinking… And very important, I reconnected with my family because what had happened in the past, which had happened before is that when I got severely depressed, I cut myself from my family. Without realizing I was doing it but I would call them less, and I would be, you know, seeing them less.
Emilie: And it’s very easy to do when you live abroad by the way. So during the pregnancy, you know I have two sisters, so what happened was, I was calling my mom, then I was calling one sister, then I was calling the second and it was just too much. So I started a facebook group for all of us where I was giving more information…
Gemma: Well reunited!
Emilie: So that everyone would see it.
Gemma: Yeah! In one go, yeah!
Emilie: Yeah, becauses surprises, there’s just too much complication. And we got, you know, like the four of us got really tight because they were all mothers, so they were all saying to me: “Okay, try this, try that, do this, do that.” and giving me loads of advice. It was beautiful. When I had the miscarriage, people were very, very scared for me, that my newfound purpose had disappeared. And so my therapist was extremely clever and help me through that think about “Okay, what good has happened over the last few weeks?”, you know. Bear in mind, obviously, again, hormones gone absolutely right back down for, you know, any male watching this video right now who don’t understand the power…
Emilie: When you have miscarriage, you suddenly go from this super high to very, very low very quickly, especially with twins, you got double. So, you know, I went straight back into, like, crying and obviously I was grieving on top of it, I mean it was terrible.
Emilie: And she was, like, you know, “what goods, what have you learned over the last few weeks?”. And I said “Well, I reconnected with my family and I found that I can have beautiful relationships with, you know, my mom, my sisters and my dad. Even if he wasn’t in the group, he was contributing a lot through my mom’s, you know, facebook account. He didn’t like facebook at that time, so he was there. And also I’ve learned I can look after myself, which I didn’t know I was able to. And back to what we said about when you’re really, really low, how you feel like you’re a victim and there’s nothing you can do. Well suddenly I had found plenty to do to look after myself and it was very easy for me because it wasn’t about me. And once I clicked on that, I said “Okay, well, this is what I’m going to take with me and I am going to reframe this story as this is the start of my recovery, this is when I am now choosing to do what’s best for me and I am going to get through this and I’m going to get better and I am never going to disconnect
myself from my family again, and…” You know, and I’m really resonating when I’m telling you this story because I still feel it, you know, this was six years ago and, you know, it’s still what’s driving me. Because I just felt like I have to… In a way, I have to honor these souls that, you know… And that was that. Their purpose was to help me through that time and to help me, you know, become alive again. And I mean I am extremely grateful for that, and you see, that’s the thing, like, now I’m able to look at something that is extremely sad, a double miscarriage when you are a single mother in a foreign country. I mean it’s not easy…
Gemma: That is not easy, at all.
Emilie: But you know, I’ve reframed it into a beautiful story that means a lot to me and I have a lot of gratitude for this now. And what I’ve been trying to tell my clients is, you know, “In these really horrible things that have happened to you where’s the gift? What can you be grateful for?” because if you can get to the stage of gratitude, then you will be fine.
Gemma: Absolutely. Absolutely, I mean that’s such a powerful inspirational story, you know, I just think that there is so much in that just is incredible, really. So much in that and, you know, one of the things I think that I just really felt as you’re telling me that, you know, you’re so right, that this was the motivation that changed things for you and changed the way that you were interacting and being. And then, of course, you were valuing yourself from then on and then you continued to value yourself and to see how amazing you are, you know, and how all of those good things that you were doing and that incredible experience and how that sort of, you know, gave you that new ability to see things in a different way. It’s just so absolutely inspirational for life, for the rest of your life, you know. And well, really, you know, inspires me sitting here and I think would inspire many, many people.
Because actually those experiences which are the hardest ones, the toughest ones in life, you know. If you can just somehow and, you know, with help, with work, with appreciating what’s happening around you and making use of those things that are around you, those people that are around you, who really want to help and support you and I think that’s the other thing, is that it’s really being able to accept that help and support and be grateful for that. I mean that’s something I have learned and I am still learning it. It’s like, people feel good when they help you, people want to be able to do that, so therefore, look for that and accept it and say “Thank you”. That’s brilliant, you know, “I can really do something with that now!”.
And so I just think that’s an inspirational story.
Emilie: Thank you, thank you. So back to our topic of hypnotherapy, we kind of like digressed a little there. But… Right, what I wanted to ask you earlier was, you talk about how a session with you starts with consultation and then the relaxation. So I know that they are a few different types of hypnotherapy and I haven’t had sessions with you, so my question is, you know, what type; so when I say type I’m talking about: there is the type roughly of “You go so deep that you don’t remember the session.” I’ve experienced that four years ago when I had a hypnosis session to help me quit smoking. And it’s worked extremely well because four years later, I am still not smoking.
Gemma: Well done, very good!
Emilie: Yeah. I was very very motivated though before which I think…
Gemma: Is really important. Really crucial, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Emilie: Very crucial. And obviously the other type of therapy that I have experienced, with Hawai who I interviewed a few weeks ago, I don’t know if you saw the interview. We didn’t talk about hypnotherapy in the interview but a little bit but not as much as she was talking about other tools. But anyway, the point is the hypnotherapy I did with her was conversational. So, you know, I would be into a relaxed state but she would ask me a question and I would reply. And what we did in the sessions that were really powerful is that I got stuck with talking therapy to a stage where I knew what my traumas were but I couldn’t get past them. And with hypnotherapy we went back and I relieved the experience and I was able to witness this from a safe place. And I was able to give, to talk to me, the 12 year old me. What she needed, what she would have needed at to hear at the time that would have helped. Okay, and that was extremely powerful for me. So what sort of hypnotherapy do you do, then?
Gemma: Yes, so that’s an amazingly effective part of hypnotherapy and very much a part of what I would do in certain situations, you know, or a certain time throughout a process of seeing somebody. And so, you know, very often, if there are are emotional triggers that are causing a particular behavior that’s unwanted and unhelpful. Exactly as you describe, that technique of, you know, there’s a rewind, reframe process but that equally is taking into account the five main emotions, you know, that may well have attached to them a behavior that’s no longer wanted or helpful. But I might not know, why, and where that’s come from? Throughout that process, I will just gain that, such a deep understanding of where that’s come from. Because, you know, all of a sudden, it feels different. It feels different through that kind of process of letting go of something or reframing something accepting as you say, or, you know, talking to yourself as a 12 year old, explaining in that moment what you needed to know and understand. But just at the age of 12, didn’t know that or understand that in that particular moment. And so really amazingly, you know, changing those moments in the past in a way that helps us now and in the future. But that’s a really incredible and powerful technique and that is very much part of solution-focused hypnotherapy and it’s a really fantastic tool. You know, there are fears and phobias and emotional trauma, which is huge, you know, so it’s such a spectrum of what I might have found traumatic and compared to perhaps what somebody else found traumatic, it’s all relative. And just is a word to describe an emotional disturbance can be literally anything. And so I think that’s a really crucial thing, for somebody to know as well that phobia, trauma emotional imbalance, you know, fear itself. You know, these are terms all relative and what’s so refreshing is I think that hypnotherapy, which is just a huge umbrella term for really, you know, the way in which we can use our mind better to change our lives for the better in the way that we want to, has gone down various different routes. And so I might say I might call myself a clinical hypnotherapist or solution-focused hypnotherapist. But ultimately it really is just about tapping into that incredible resource that is there, that powerful subconscious mind that when coupled with our conscious desires and when the subconscious and the conscious are truly kind of pulling together and focusing on the same thing, it suddenly or not suddenly but maybe suddenly for some people, but it just becomes easier, that ability then to feel better, be better, do something that’s better just becomes an easier process. And even though it’s true that a session can be quite sort of, you know, exhausting and you really feel like you need that relaxation. I always find that when I have an experience of hypnotherapy I open my eyes and actually things do look and feel and seem different. So, it’s nice, sometimes almost a bit brighter, more vivid, just more things have come into focus. Actually I remember a friend of mine, her husband, he always called it “Brain shrinking.” Almost like that “Let’s just get that perspective back again, let’s just kind of put things back to where we want them to be.” And so that we’ve got a bit of a grasp on them, you know.
Emilie: Now that’s great. So you’re saying that during the relaxation part
you do different, basically, depending on what your client needs, you
will use different techniques.
Gemma: Yeah, that’s right and I mean, for stress and anxiety and depression that are all kind of part of the same thing. There is a really fantastic process, a generic process. So that when somebody comes in and they really are wanting to reduce that kind of generalized anxiety, alleviate depression, feel more positive, happier, more confident that they have stress in their lives under control, there very much is a process and a structure. Which I think is quite reassuring because once you’ve gone through it a few times you think “Right, okay, yeah, I know what we’re doing here.” And knowing what we’re doing here is also a way of training the brain. So that actually if I did those things every single morning, you know,
“What’s good about my life, what’s going to be good about my day what’s being good about yesterday, what’s been good about my week?”, I’m already in the positive part of my brain and that’s exactly where I want to be as much as possible, you know. So there’s that real kind of idea of training the mind and continuing to do that in a structured way and equally, you know, as we’ve talked about, there are other elements of, you know, hypnotherapy which really very much does deal particularly with overcoming fears and phobias. And say for example, gaining control of somebody’s weight perhaps that might be an issue, you know, weight management, pain management, you know, really using the power of the mind to cope better with these sometimes physical ailments or what has happened.
Emilie: Interesting thing you’ve mentioned, weight management because what I have learned recently is that, quite often, people who are overweight are overweight for a specific reason. And there is an emotional trauma behind it and if they don’t heal the trauma, they will not lose weight.
They can take as many diet as they want…
Gemma: Yes, absolutely.
Emilie: It’s not going to happen. Or if they do lose the weight, the trauma is going to create something else, it’s going to create another problem. Because it’s taken away.
Gemma: It’s still there.
Emilie: Because the extra weight is a physical protection to a specific problem.
Gemma: That’s right, that’s right. Because actually if the subconscious mind has a way of coping with a situation which might be eating things that make us feel nice and comforting and then suddenly that’s taken away, then it will look for something else. So actually and you know, sometimes, it might be that somebody comes and says “The problem is my weight” but actually through the course of the the process they may never mention that again. Ever again. And it may just be that it’s that feeling of, yeah, being out of control and having to find something that feels good and that has just become the thing. Because, as you say, that there is underneath that some other emotional need that’s there, that can be dealt with differently, that can be approached and, you know, alleviated or just kind of let go of. So that in fact that real kind of, that feel like craving almost for the chocolate or the cigarette or the glass of red wine, you know, “By the way I might enjoy a glass of red wine but not a bottle every night.” So a there’s a balance to be had and there’s that feeling that actually “I’m choosing on a Friday night to do this because actually I really want to.” Not that “I’ve got to run home really, really quickly, so that I can get that get that sort of relief.”
Emilie: Yeah, it’s funny you mention that because I’ve recently started personal training and my Personnal Trainer said to me, so we talked about
food and everything. I was very honest I said “You know what, one of the things that I know…”, I said “You know, on my stomach I have a thin layer of cheese and wine.”
Gemma: I love that, yeah, wow! “Vive la France”!
Emilie: Yes, exactly and a bit of chocolate as well there. We had a chat about it and she was like “Okay, well, you know, when do you have it? Why do you have it?”. And I said “Well with wine, you know, I like to enjoy it with, you know, friends and, you know, I’m going to have a wine and cheese night, have a zoom.”, you know. But at times, I have a glass of wine in the evening
after a long stressful day, to relax and she’s like “Okay, so those are the ones we’re gonna remove”. Because she said to me, I loved it, she was like we’re aiming for being 80% good, 20% human.
Gemma: Yes, yeah, brilliant! Love that!
Emilie: I absolutely love that! A personal trainer who tells me that I can have cheese and wine, and I was like “Yeah! Yes! I finally found it!”
Gemma: Coming back to see her again! Yeah.
Emilie: And so what she said was, you know, like “Cheese and wine, okay. A couple of nights a week maximum. You know, one would be good but one or two is okay.”. It’s a social thing with friends or for fun, it’s not to relax. If you need to relax instead … So we’ve found, you know, my ways, so we talked about, you know, meditation or walks or a bath.
Emilie: We’re like “Oh, okay!” and that works actually so I’m like…
Gemma: Fabulous, yeah, I love that, I love that! I might have to remember that, you know, 80% something and 20% humanity
Emilie: 80% Good.
Gemma: 80% good, 20% human, yeah, that’s brilliant. And so true, you know, and such an important thing, actually, for anybody who is in the business of helping other people to feel better about their lives, so important I think. sometimes as a therapist to just go “Yeah, yeah, that’s me too, I’m happy to disclose.” because I just think sometimes when somebody goes into therapy or to a personal trainer or into a group or… Somebody who is there with some knowledge or, you know, to just say “We’re not aiming for perfection here, the perfection is not the thing.” It’s exactly what you’ve just said, it’s really being able to enjoy the things that we enjoy and know that there are other things that we can use and do that will really do that relaxation that make us feel good. That’s so much healthier but not forgetting that life is to be enjoyed and we can have that enjoyment at those moments, you know.
Emilie: Yeah, yeah, no, exactly. And I think that’s something really interesting to me as well, about cortisol and the fact that if you have alcohol when you are stressed it will impact your cortisol levels. They are going up faster because stress does it and alcohol like multiplies it or something like that.
Gemma: Yes, that sounds good. It’s a characteristic.
Emilie: “Oh my gosh, I don’t want that!”
Gemma: Exactly, yeah, I don’t want that! You know, the same kind of thing with, you know, managing weight that actually stress cortisol. And I think, probably, lots of people will know that weight gain happens more readily and more easily when we feel stressed, you know, when that cortisol is coursing through the body. And the meditation, and actually, any meditation, anything that helps us meditate with music, with words, you know, guided meditation or you know, any sort of form of meditation where we go into that kind of really nice zone. It’s just so incredibly helpful in relaxing us and reducing the levels of cortisol and adrenaline.
Emilie: Yeah, absolutely, brilliant, okay, so I think we’ve talked about it quite a lot but maybe to summarize it, what would a session with you look like?
Gemma: Yes. So you know, we’d start with that free consultation just to make sure that it’s a good fit for the customer, so they know that, really, this is going to help them because that’s really important. And then, so after that, that’s about half an hour, just understanding how the brain works really. It’s very empowering just to have that understanding. And then after that, every single session will look and feel the same pretty much apart from those other techniques that we spoke about. If we’re looking at the generic anxiety, depression, stress, we, you know, come in, settle down and the first question that I will ask is: “What’s been good about your week?” and there we go, we’ll come up with all of these wonderful things. Sometimes it’s easier for people to talk about all those good things, and that’s fine. And then from there, we’ll go on to a scaling question, which is just a really simple measurement, so that we can understand if somebody is feeling… They can give me a number. So it can be a number between 0 and 10 with 0 being rubbish, 10 being amazing and they can just say how they feel in that moment. And that’s a guide then. From there we go into what we call the “miracle question”, which is where we start to think about
the fairy dust and waking up in the morning and noticing that difference, just opening your eyes and thinking about what it is that’s different and that becomes something. That question normally leads to a number of other questions. Just so that we can drill it down to something actionable and doable at a defined point in the future, and when we’ve got that, it’s perfect because we’re in this prefrontal cortex, we’re positive, we’re solution focused and then immediately from there, we go into the relaxation, and by the way I would never ask somebody the following week “So, did you do that thing?”, you know, “Did you do it?” because that’s not what it’s about. It’s about them having that kind of… Might be like light bulb moment, it might just be a “Okay, I’ve come up with the answer now, I’m going to relax and now my mind is in that receptive place so that I can just do that meditation, get that kind of good feeling going.” and the positive suggestions can be nicely taken in by the subconscious and just absorbed normally over about next sort of three days and just beginning to notice the difference then after the session.
Emilie: Brilliant, brilliant, yeah, because you provide an audio, don’t you, as well for your clients, for bed.
Gemma: Yeah, absolutely, and that’s a really crucial point. Funnily enough, I was just thinking about that as I was talking because that’s just such a crucial thing, it’s the only homework I’ll ever ask anybody to do. I will check up on them and just say “Are you listening to your audio?” because that’s such an important part of the discipline of improving the sleep and from there good things will happen.
Emilie: Yes, absolutely. And I’ve been using this for quite a few years. I do regularly and actually I fell out of the habit recently so I need to get back on it, but for the last few years I’ve had the habit of listening to, you know, a subconscious programming audio with affirmations and things that, you know, are helping me with my sleep but also are kind of like going into my mind to tell me “Everything’s gonna be fine”.
Emilie: That things are perfect and that, you know, I’m in a good place, I’m safe and all these things. And when I am good with them, when I really use them every day I see the difference.
Gemma: It’s quite amazing isn’t it?
Emilie: Yeah, it’s a very very powerful tool. So that’s great what you’re providing that to your clients. They’re very lucky.
Gemma: Ah, thank you.
Emilie: Thank you. Just to kind of like touch on quickly, this is obviously not about depression or anxiety because… I just want people also to realize that these tools that we talk about on this channel, they’re not just… I mean they can help you with depression and anxiety but they can do so much more.
Gemma: Yeah. They really can. They really can, you know, because actually, first of all, they can increase confidence. Which is in itself something that enables us to do so much more, to achieve the things that we want to achieve, in work, maybe it’s to do with physical activity or sport, maybe it’s in our relationships, you know, that confidence to know that we’re enough, you know, we’re good enough just as we are actually. And of course, it’s also to help with any of those fears and phobias, emotional traumas, imbalances as well as the anxiety and the depression. And equally as long as long as I’m feeling motivated for example, it can help me to stop smoking. The motivation has to be high, you know, I have to know that I’m talking to somebody who really, really, really wants to quit smoking before I would do it because they have to have that motivation, you know, it has to be there. And then that goes into other areas as well, so a little bit we talked about the weight management and also pain management, chronic pain and that’s a whole other kind of really fascinating area actually, where hypnotherapy… In fact I did do a hypno birthing course last october, which was absolutely fascinating. But equally, chronic pain, you know, arthritis, you know, all kinds of conditions that people kind of have but really want to know how they can cope with better.
Emilie: Yeah and that’s a very, very, very interesting point because I have these skin conditions with my hands. No idea what it is, okay. I went to see a general practitioner, my G.P. sent me to an allergy specialist, we did all the tests in the world, it’s not an allergy, we can’t find what it is and so I then should have followed up with dermatology. Long story short it didn’t happen. Just don’t know what it is and then it flares up. It becomes so painful and my hand basically becomes very, very scratchy, very itchy, and it can get to the stage where it can be like, it can take me to a very angry place. When you have physical itchiness all day…
Gemma: Yeah, absolutely.
Emilie: And you can’t get rid of it. Like there were times where I used to just
like go and have ice cold water on my hands, just calm it. Anyway I then started Reiki every two weeks and I’ve been doing that for a few months now. I started during lockdown. And at first I tried it for my neck and shoulders. Chronic pains there as well due to stress and probably spending too much time on the computer.
Gemma: Exactly, yeah.
Emilie: So you know, I try to correct my posture through yoga but, anyway, before the lockdown, I would have a massage every couple of weeks to calm it down. And so I switched to Reiki because obviously with Covid, that was no longer an option. And with Reiki, we’ve tackled the neck and shoulders but we’ve also tackled my hands.
Emilie: And so it’s in a much much better place, it’s not a hundred percent
like, it happens sometimes, I’m gonna have a itchy moment… Now it’s a moment, you know. I no longer have the entire day where I want my hands off.
Gemma: That is just fantastic and I think, you know, reminds me as well of the healing power of Reiki and that kind of healing power of positive intention and the mind-body connection, a spiritual connection as well for many people, as well with Reiki, but just how amazing it really can be. And that’s such a fantastic tool because of course you can use it whenever you want to. You know.
Emilie: Well I don’t, yeah, I don’t know how to do self Reiki. But I’m just having Reiki sessions every few weeks. But yeah, you’re right, it keeps coming up regularly that I should probably do the course to learn self Reiki.
Gemma: Absolutely, because I think once you’ve kind of tapped into it, you know, you may even find that some of the things that you learn, you are already starting to do with Reiki. So, that would, you know, you probably find that really wonderful.
Emilie: Yes. I think I would, you’re right! Okay, well, thank you, thank you so much for this interview Gemma! I have absolutely loved it, always a pleasure to chat with you and so just before we end, if people want to know more, if they wanna understand more about hypnotherapy or get in touch with you, where’s the best place to go?
Gemma: Yes, so, best place to go is to my website which is “gemmaannehypnotherapy@hotmail”… Do you know what, I’m just… gemmaannehypnotherapy… I’ve forgotten my website, that’s difficult.
Emilie: Love it, so in the zone!
Gemma: So in the zone that I forgot my web adress. That’s like… Right, okay. It should come up as soon as I look for it. Oh dear. It’s .co.uk. So it’s “gemmaannehypnotherapy.co.uk”.
Emilie: Brilliant, so we’ll put the link below the video.
Gemma: Brilliant, so I’ll make sure that it’s exactly right. And thank you so much, it’s been absolutely brilliant chatting to you and talking about the shared passion of therapy and, you know, it’s wonderful, so thank you for giving me this opportunity as well.
Emilie: Yeah, well, thank you, thank you very much for your time. I really
enjoyed it. Everyone who is still watching, I hope that you have really enjoyed this and that you’ve learned a few things. And if you want to look at other therapies, there will be a couple of videos that you can click on. Obviously, you can always grab a free copy of my book “A Guide to a Healthy Mind”. I will put the link below. And you can also subscribe to my channel to make sure that you don’t miss any interviews. So I wish you a really lovely Sunday and I will see you soon again in a couple of weeks. Bye!