|Posted on 5 March, 2018 at 15:00||comments (0)|
You have come off the phone from a conversation with a friend and your internal voice is raging at you. “You did it again! Why? Why? Why? I thought you said you wouldn’t do that again.” You feel angry with yourself, disappointed maybe, or even ashamed. You had promised yourself you would never EVER behave like that again. But you’ve just done it, yet again. What is happening to you? Why can’t you react how you would like to in these situations? You have been over and over it again and again and it seems so simple but in the heat of the moment it’s impossible. You react without thinking and before you know it have acted or said something that you wanted to avoid.
The above scenario is the result of the subconscious trying to protect us. The majority of our behaviour is controlled by the subconscious. It is automatic. When you first learn to drive, you have to consciously think about all the mechanics of driving -changing gears, steering, controlling the speed. All your attention is focused on driving. But eventually, with repetition, it becomes automatic, and you are able to also focus on other things such as having a conversation whilst driving. When you get into a different car and the indicator is on the right side of the steering wheel instead of the left, it takes a few goes at getting it wrong, and correcting yourself, to change the “indicator on the left” file to “indicator on the right”. This scenario is not emotionally charged and so is easy to update. It is the emotionally charged behaviours which are challenging to change.
The subconscious and conscious brains.
The brain is made up of the subconscious and the conscious. The subconscious brain makes up 90%, is on the right side. It is creative and its role is to protect us. It is the emotional brain. The conscious brain is the remaining 10%. It is on the left side of the brain and is involved in thinking, working things out. It is the logical part of the brain. When we are born, our subconscious is up and running but it is empty. Until about the age of 7yrs, the subconscious is uploading all our experiences, so that we know how to operate in the big wide world. So we take on board how our mother deals with spiders, how our father deals with confrontation with the neighbour, how they react to going to the dentist, how our mother greets a friend in the park. All these files are stored in the subconscious. Some of these will have emotions attached to them. If a spider is thrown at you in jest as a child aged 5, and your reaction is ridiculed by bystanders, the emotion of embarrassment may be attached to this file. Your subconscious doesn’t like that emotion, so you develop a phobia of spiders because spiders are linked with embarrassment. The subconscious can be compared to buying a new computer and before you can use it all the relevant files need to be installed on it with each file having a different function.
We have all heard the expression “push someone’s buttons”. Someone does or says something to another person and it sparks, usually, a negative reaction. So, what is happening here? Let us take the example of the spider. A friend teases you with pointing out a spider, knowing how you will react. This causes sudden panic, because the sight of the spider immediately links it to the initial incident when we were 5 yrs old. We just can’t help it. The subconscious is protecting us from being embarrassed again, despite our thinking very logically about spiders when we are calm and relaxed.
The above example is a very obvious file in the subconscious. But we have millions of files, controlling many different behaviours and situations, some of them often subtle. For example, you notice that you always feel uneasy in the company of men with facial hair. You can’t put your finger on why, and thinking rationally about it, there is no reason to feel like this. But, maybe, when you were at Primary School the head teacher had facial hair, and as a young child you were scared of him. This has been logged in the subconscious as “men with facial hair are scary”. You may not remember that you felt scared, but your subconscious does!
Addicted to Food.
Food is necessary for survival and so makes up an important part of our lives. For this reason many different emotions may become attached to food when we are children. A child falls over, and just won’t stop crying so the mother gives her chocolate to quieten her. Later in life, if someone has knocked this adult at work, or a friend has let her down at the last minute, she finds yourself reaching for the chocolate. When life becomes more challenging, she finds herself reaching for the chocolate even more. The chocolate seems to hit the spot, but she doesn’t know why, and even though she thinks about it logically, things don’t seem to change. This, again is the subconscious at work. As a child the subconscious attached a feeling of, perhaps, being comforted with chocolate.
Can these files be changed?
Yes, they can. We are always keen to talk about negative events that have happened to us. We do talk about the positive experiences, but negative events have more impact and last longer. Negative emotions are much more powerful than positive ones. As a result negative events can wipe out years of positive files in one go – a bit like your computer getting a virus and destroying the files. Years of enjoying flying can be wiped out with one traumatic flight, which involved going through a thunder storm, turbulence, thunder, lightning and petrified passengers. This one incident could, in the right circumstances, be enough to produce a fear of flying. Reversing this file back to feeling safe with flying through actively flying takes very much longer. What tends to happen is that the fear is so great that the subconscious forces you to avoid any more flights because that is safer.
|Posted on 23 February, 2018 at 4:25||comments (0)|
I have a variety of tools in my tool box, and one of my favourites is EFT – Emotional Freedom Technique. What I love about this tool is that it is so simple and gentle and yet so powerful. It can be used on absolutely anything and it is a great self-help tool. It works really well in conjunction with Hypnotherapy and other techniques. Most clients that I see have never heard of EFT and when I suggest that we try some tapping, I get a variety of looks – bemusement, scepticism, or a look of horror that I may even dare ask them to tap on themselves! But what is so nice about this technique is that the client doesn’t have to believe in it! It is also a great way of calming down and relaxing them. I gently say “so, why don’t we just try a new relaxation technique” and encourage them to start tapping with me.
How did it come about?
Dr Roger Callahan, an American psychologist, the founder of Thought Field Therapy (TFT), fell upon tapping therapy in 1981 whilst trying to help a female client with a severe water phobia. Out of frustration with not making much progress, he started to look outside the box of conventional treatments and one of these was traditional Chinese acupuncture. Mary was feeling her anxiety in her stomach, so he asked her to tap just below the eye, a point on the stomach meridian, at the same time thinking about water. To his amazement her phobia vanished. This was the start of tapping. Gary Craig was a student of Dr Callahan. He graduated in engineering but he was passionate about personal development. He was interested in resolving emotional issues and developed what is now called EFT.
Conscious or subconscious?
Counselling works on a conscious level, and hypnotherapy works on the subconscious level. However, EFT works on the conscious, subconscious and cellular level. When we think of a situation, or have a thought, it produces an emotion. This emotion causes a physical response. If I were to ask you to imagine standing in front of a large audience to give a presentation, you will probably notice yourself getting clammy, your heart starts to race and your breathing becomes shallow. You may even start to feel sick. These symptoms are due to an emotion such as fear. They are working at a cellular level. When we are fit and well, and life seems to be going well, energy flows freely along the meridians. Negative emotions and ill health cause blocks in the flow of energy. EFT unblocks the flow of energy.
What does it involve?
EFT involves tapping on a series of points, which correlate with Chinese acupuncture points located at the end of the meridians – pathways in the body along which energy flows. The distal meridian points are used to rebalance and clear the body’s energy system. So, EFT works like acupuncture, but without the needles. As we tap we focus on the problem or emotion putting it into a short phrase, saying it out loud.
What can it help?
So, what can EFT be used for? I said absolutely everything, and that is quite literally true. We can use it for past events, things happening right now, and also anything we are concerned about in the future. We can use it on children and adults and even pets! We can use it to improve our lives and attract better things into our lives. But generally we use it to resolve negative emotions and unhelpful beliefs resulting from traumas. These hold us back from progressing in life or sabotage our behaviour. Why can’t we resist that drink? What are the emotions and beliefs behind being unable to resist? It will also help physical symptoms as all symptoms have a belief and an emotion behind them. EFT can be used on incidents that we cannot recall or were too young to recall, but have been told about, such as a traumatic birth, or a spell in hospital as a young child. Although we cannot remember, our subconscious is already up and running, producing emotions even though we cannot name them at that young age.
What can be reassuring for clients is that details about past events do not need to be divulged to the therapist. So often clients don’t want to talk about that trauma “yet again”. By simply giving it a title or naming the emotion can be enough for the therapist to help work through it. Sometimes we have “this feeling” but we just don’t know why we have “this feeling” or we have physical symptoms. That is enough to work with. EFT helps relax and focus the mind, and often memories surface that we had forgotten about which helps explain things. Why do we always go for the cigarettes when someone has shouted at us? Maybe as a teenager, if our parents were rowing, we would escape to our friend’s and enjoy a cigarette, making us feel loved and secure. So reaching for that cigarette makes us feel loved and secure. No wonder we find it impossible to give up that cigarette!
A self-help tool.
I use EFT on myself on a daily basis as it is so good for clearing negative emotions. Emotions are like dust. If we don’t dust the ornaments regularly the dust builds up. If we don’t resolve our negative emotions, however trivial they are, they start to “clog up” our subconscious and start to affect us physically. EFT is so good to use in the moment. Ever walked away from someone and felt so angry with what they have said? By tapping on that emotion you will start to feel calmer quicker and to see the situation more realistically. Or maybe you have a phone call to make, but can’t get yourself to make it. Tapping again will help you.