I listened to a podcast recently about the benefits of hypnosis for....well, almost anything and it left me intrigued. I knew broadly that hypnosis was often used for weight-loss, smoking cessation and fear of flying for example, but I'd never considered it as a modality for healing anxiety. My interest had been piqued.
So it was by some coincidence that some days later I was offered a hypnosis session from someone I connected with on my recent trip to Bali; Diana Morrison, a counsellor and hypnotherapist from Positive Pathways Hypnotherapy and Counselling.
As some of you may know if you follow me on Instagram, I cut my intended two month Bali stint short after 11 days, shortly after the earthquakes struck. So I scheduled my session for when I was back in NZ (on solid ground), over Skype.
Diana opened the session by telling me a little about her and the work that she does, and asked some questions of me so that she could gauge where I was currently at, and how she could best support me. Despite feeling anxiety in the lead up to the session (beginner nerves, perhaps?!) I felt completely at ease opening up to Diana and sharing about the role that anxiety plays in my life, how and where I feel it, and what I had tried to date to alleviate it.
I was then led into a couple of exercises that would aim to break the cycle of anxiety in my brain. The first was a pattern interruption strategy, that - whilst super simple - was also super effective in lessening the anxiety that was distinctly present at the start of our session.
The next exercise was a powerful diffusion technique, which is something I use with my coaching clients.
Diana started by asking me: “what thoughts come up for you in conjunction with your anxiety?” and for me it was very much: “I’m not working hard enough/doing enough so of course I’m going to fail”. She encouraged me to diffuse that thought to “I’m having the thought that, I’m not working hard enough….” After saying that aloud 3 times, the initial anxious thought had lost much of its’ weighting. Reframed thoughts and beliefs are so much more empowering than their disempowering counterpart - and such an accessible exercise to do.
I had a serious realisation during that last exercise around what actually triggers my anxiety. Up until this point, I couldn’t put the exact words to it. I have this fear of failure (I mean, we all do right? How had I not considered this?!), or of people thinking that I am a failure, and so when I feel like I’m failing or not getting the results I desire, I force myself to try even harder, work for longer, and, ultimately, work my way out of it. And as a coach, I know that this is entirely fruitless, and not a place to be producing any kind of work from. It’s a fast-track to burnout and fatigue, which is something I’m prone to.
Talk about light-bulb moment.
Throughout our chat, Diana took notes that would eventually become the basis for a bespoke hypnosis that she wrote for me during the session; encompassing all of the things I was calling in and willing to let go of.
I wish I could tell you how long the actual hypnosis went for, but I was well and truly out to it, yet still very cognisant of the words being spoken to me. After awakening from the hypnosis, I felt deeply rested and calm - like I’d been asleep for a couple of hours.
It was what happened the next day that was the most profound. I had obviously activated this belief or trauma in my soma that I was “a failure” and I spent much of the next day pretty teary and emotional, going through all of the feelings that this brought up. As someone who spends a lot of her time deep ‘in the work’ through transformational coaching and mentorship, I knew that this was an essential part of my growth. After all, the best way out is through..
Today, almost a week after that initial session, going through my emotional rollercoaster of a process and listening to my hypnosis recording that Diana sent me straight afterwards - I feel like I’m very much on the other side of that limiting belief around failure. That’s not to say that it mightn’t rear its’ ugly head at some point down the track, but for now I feel like I’ve had a somatic release, and my anxiety has been a lot less present.
If you or someone you know suffers from anxiety, consider booking in a session with Diana. Although based in Bali, her online sessions are accessible to you wherever you are in the world. She also offers a free 15 minute consultation through her website.
You can connect with Diana here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Is there a modality that you have tried for your anxiety that worked? I would love to hear from you. You can email me at email@example.com