Cognitive Hypnotherapist and Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) practitioner in Kingston Surrey
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Author Archives: Jill Tonks

Higgs Boson meets hypnotherapy

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A Higgs boson walks into a church. The priest says, ‘What are you doing in here?’ The Higgs boson replies, ‘You can’t have mass without me!’

‘If it wasn’t for the Higgs boson most elementary particles (like quarks – that we are made of) wouldn’t have any mass and we would just be a mish-mash of particles floating in the universe, devoid of form. You wouldn’t exist, and neither would the planet Earth or the Sun. It’s kind of why some people call it the ‘God’ particle (although most physicists don’t really like the term).’David Hamilton

If you are anything like me, even though my daughter is a physics buff, I have no idea what this Higgs Boson business is about.

What I do know is that it is at the cutting edge of science and it may open up a totally new aspects of science.

How is it that the unthinkable happens? We always believe we are right about certain things. An atom is the smallest particle and then the Higgs Boson experiment comes along to challenge this theory. The world is flat- this was a historical one of those.

So I believe it’s about taking risks, experimentation, going beyond what seems possible and trusting that new pathways can emerge. How useful could this be as a metaphor for life. Imagine the possibilities that could unfold for you  then!

Cognitive hypnotherapy can open the future you want if you are ready to explore experiment and strap yourself in for the ride!

Felix Baumgartner who leapt into the stratosphere to make his record-breaking jump faster than the speed of sound used hypnotherapy to help him prepare mentally for the dive and mange his anxiety and fight his fear when wearing the pressurised suit.

It was the most incredible feat and he did hit a tail spin which no doubt being mentally prepared for, he was able to pull back from to break the world record.

The power of the human mind is astonishing. It never ceases to amaze me the potential we all have to work with our mind rather than allow it to work against us.

I see a lot of clients with anxiety, depression and uncontrollable habits and behaviours. One you get control back of the way you think and feel the future can begin to open up for you in ways that never seemed possible – a bit like skydiving from four miles above the earth!


What kind of pigeon are you?

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There were 3 pigeons involved in an experiment.

Pigeon 1 presses the lever and gets a seed.

Pigeon 2 presses the lever and gets a see every three times.

Pigeon 3 gets a seed at random intervals, 4 times, 12 time,s 10 times, 20 times,etc.

The experimenters stop the seeds: pigeon 1 gets bored easily and flies away. Pigeon 2 takes longer to get bored and eventually flies away. Pigeon 3 ( poor thing!) carries on and on pressing the lever and never leaves.

Hoe often do we hang onto old patterns that don’t serve us well anymore and we just keep going and going – does this sound like you?

With Cognitive Hypnotherapy you can change habitual thoughts, feelings and behaviours more easily than you might think.

Change isn’t always easy but it’s always possible.

From Nothing to Something

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I recently bought a new ipod. I was very excited to load up my content from itunes. A strange request came up when I plugged in my new device and I said yes. All of my music was wiped away. All of those painstaking hours gone in the click of a ‘Yes’ button. I was gobsmacked, speechless! I was angry, frustrated and dreading the hours it would take to get all the music back.

As I started this process, I found myself filtering out all the stuff that I didn’t want, songs, podcasts that I’d never really listened to or liked and began searching for more things to add. De-cluttering my itunes account turned out to be a far more rewarding experience than I thought.

I often find this with clients that out of the awfulness their situation brings to them, through Cognitive Hypnotherapy, they uncover treasure, unseen aspects of themselves that come to the fore that change many aspects of their life dramatically.

I liken this to sleep walking in life. We get into habits and routines that don’t really work but they are OK.  So OK and just about OK become the fodder of our daily lives. A crisis tips this on its head and after the initial negative emotions  we can begin to see many more new possibilities.

‘It often takes a crisis to break through our usual models of the world. A crisis is a gift, an opportunity, and perhaps a manifestation that life loves us, by beckoning us to go beyond the dance we presently perform ‘ Leslie Lebeau


‘I know how exhausting it is to fight a constant battle inside your head; how much energy it takes just to wake up in the morning and how sometimes you wish you didn’t have to; how frustrating it can be to really want to eat an extra carrot because you are so hungry but how impossible it can be to actually do it; how empty you want to feel inside; how useless and worthless you feel…’

This is a quote from my colleague Chloe Cook  Chloe used hypnotherapy to get back in control of herself and put her eating disorder behind her using Cognitive Hypnotherapy.

An eating disorder can be dangerous and it would be easy to think that it is just a drive to lose weight and be thin – it isn’t. The women I’ve worked with took back control of the crucifying thoughts and the overwhelming negative feelings an eating disorder generates. Getting back in touch with their self-worth was a massive factor for change to take place. Breaking eating habits which are long-standing isn’t always easy but it’s always possible. The sense of freedom this brought enabled these women to get on with their lives, see a different future ahead of them and get back in control of the way they think and feel. This had a very powerful effect on their families and loved ones, particularly parents who were extremely scared that their own children would develop the same disorder.

Sometimes it can seem like how it is, is the way it will always be. That doesn’t have to be true for you.

The Power of a Smile

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This powerful article explores the value of smiling in many different contexts. Can you believe it can even make us live longer!!

I think there is something about smiling that connects us with our innate sense of well being and enables us to connect with others.

I’m not suggesting that you start smiling at everyone randomly or you might get some funny looks but even a slight smile can make a difference to someone elses day. We are able to detect fake smiles at a thousand paces apparently because the different way the muscles around the mouth and eyes move when a smile is genuine so only do it if you mean it.

Doubt is a gift

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Robert Hughes, an art critic was quoted in The Independent recently:

‘The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.’

So doubt and uncertainty are good for you as an artist, even though it can torture some gifted artists and lead them to self-destruction through drugs and drink. In the same way doubt can torment us all and we all crave control and certainty. So why is this?

In evolutionary terms, if we were confident, we would never have survived as a species or experimented with change which makes us superior to other species. So doubt is hard-wired into the older part of the brain to keep us alive, keep us safe. It’s what the psychologists call the confirmation bias..

How can this be useful? I see a lot of clients who lack confidence and believe they are not good enough and give themselves a really hard time and this can feed anxiety and depression. Cognitive hypnotherapy enables you to transform these negative traits into useful qualities to keep you on your toes and use doubt as a tool to keep you on track.

Can you imagine how useful that could be: transforming that inner critic into a powerful friend who can draw you attention to anything that is not working for you?

Now that’s a gift worth having!

The Divided Brain

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This video by Ian McGilchrist demonstrates by cartoons how the brain functions. It shows how the right and left hemispheres interact and the potential competition and partnership that can happen between the two parts.

The left hemisphere filters the world we know. He calls it the ‘Berlusconi’ part of the brain because it controls the media; what’s allowed to come to your attention. He describes it as a ‘ Hall of Mirrors’ because it sees more and more of what we know already.

On the other hand the right hemisphere has a breadth and a depth of vision that enables a more holistic and balanced approach that sees the whole picture not just the parts that the left hemisphere sees.

When these two hemispheres work together they are a powerful partnership helping us to shape the reality we want to experience. When they conflict, they discount each other and the world seems a very negative place.

Finally he describes the intuitive, right brain as a creative gift, a master of life and the world. The left hemisphere of reason is a faithful servant. In life, we can allow the servant to rule the master rather than the other way around. When you have a wise master with a faithful servant, that opens up all sorts of possibilities.

Cognitive Hypnotherapy enables you to embrace the best of both. It can make a big difference to the way we think and feel and break out of cycles of behaviour and patterns that aren’t working for you and experience the freedom that comes with this to live the life you want.




Feel Good More Often

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This blog from Trevor Silvester at the Quest Institute sums up the feel good factor that the Olympics has generated in Britain.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not a big sport fan and yet I found myself glued to the telly watching all sorts of sport Id never watch normally!

So my question is, what happened to all the bad news during the Olympics? I have to say it was a joy to see great photos and great pictures in the news and  the bad news  relegated to the later pages.

What’s that about? Well bad news sells papers I suppose, and because we read them, we feed that supply intentionally or otherwise. I keep finding myself scouring newspaper stands looking at headlines and have the odd peak at OK and Heat magazines which are full of intrusions into other people’s lives-  I know, I need help!!

So I’ve decided to stop taking in the bad stuff because it’s easy to think that the world is a bad scary place. It is in some parts of the world, and yet there is so much good stuff right under our noses which often gets ignored. So I’ve decided to watch less news, read papers from the middle and filter all the negative stuff out or not get so bogged down by it.

You’ll be amazed at how if you make a note of three things every day that you would consider positives or gifts in your life, how very quickly you can train your attention to see the positives in life. The positive psychology bods tell us this can be more effective than Prozac!!

So go on try it, write down every night before you go to bed on a post it or in a notebook 3 things that you are grateful for or gifts that have come into your life that day. You can keep a record of these at

In life, what you see depends on what you look for. I think you’ll be surprised what you pay attention to when you refocus your attention on more positive things.

Today my 3 things are:

I have a glass roof in my kitchen and I love the light first thing in the morning.

I had an unexpected card from a good friend.

I smiled at everyone I met as I went for a walk this morning and most of them smiled back! 🙂

In the last few months, someone close to me has been diagnosed with cancer. I’ve never experienced this before so it has been a very challenging experience on every level. I’ll be honest with you, just the word cancer has a direct association with dying. That’s the power of suggestion for you!

I have gone through, and still do some of the darkest moments of my life as I ask questions like ‘why me?’? why now?’ and ‘how did this happen?’. Then I’ve been fast forwarding to the worst possible outcome and the impact this will have on me and those close to me. I’ve had a strange split experience. On the one hand because of what I do for a living, my head knows how to think positively and adapt a positive attitude to the future. And yet in my heart, I’ve been screaming with the weight of all the emotions and the exhaustion that brings and I’ve been overcome and overwhelmed by that on occasions.. I’ve also been having a real crisis of confidence about how life can change so suddenly. The support from friends   has been amazing and the experience has galvanised the relationships with those people I care about.

At the same time, I’ve never been so clear about what is really important to me –  family and close friends and I’ve been amazed at how this process has strengthened these connections so much. I’ve also let go of all the dreary worries and concerns I’ve had.. This has been so liberating just to embrace and enjoy life in the moment!

If there’s one thing I intend to take from all of this, it is to embrace the present because that’s all there is! I often use this quote with clients who come to see me in crisis and I now see its relevance to me.

‘It often takes a crisis to break through our usual models of the world. A crisis is a gift, an opportunity, and perhaps a manifestation that life loves us, by beckoning us to go beyond the dance we presently perform ‘Leslie Lebeau