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

I had a big Ouch! moment when I read this. Have I passed on my old fear of spiders and flying beasts to my children, Yes I have! There was a piece in the paper recently about new research which suggests this. Nearly half of parents thought they were too open about their phobias and even if you say nothing and experience a level of fear, children have radar like stealth bombers and spot this! The most common phobias passed on are heights, spiders and flying.

The great news is though that most phobias can be shifted in one session! Phobias are miscalculations based on the brain’s desire to protect us at an unconscious level. They can develop at any age. However what you have learnt you can unlearn and the mind has tremendous flexibility to adapt and change.

Interestingly, the more phobias I have worked with, the less mine are an issue. This mirroring has worked in reverse so I can capture a large, hairy beast with 8 legs and set it free now!!

Foe a free, half hour, no obligation, consultation on your phobia, get in touch.

This TED talk explores the concept of self. It’s 10 or so minutes well  worth watching. We are a collection of memories and perceptions that make up who we think we are. The self doesn’t exist really and on the You Tube clip the presenter compares what we know as water – just a collection of hydrogen and oxygen molecules – to the concept of self. As human beings we look for certainty, clarity and meaning but when you scratch beneath the surface there is no real you. Now before you have a big existential crisis, imagine the possibilities that opens up. You can embrace what you want of yourself and given that most of the self  is learnt, you can be and become the person you’d want to be. How cool is that?

Every day I meet clients who are stuck because of a misplaced perception of themselves. I am depressed, I am an alcoholic, a smoker, I am worthless, a gambler and the list is endless. People mistake their behaviour with their identity. Given that we have learnt these habits, we can unlearn them and become the person we’d have the best fun being free of habits and patterns that can rule our lives. Now that’s worth making changes for isn’t it?

This You Tube clips shows some fascinating insight into the placebo effect and the opposite, the nocebo effect. Essentially all healing to some degree is placebo because we can get better from the effects of sugar pills and block the effect of what we think won’t work for our bodies even if it will.

It’s a strange thing the power of the mind and as a Cognitive Hypnotherapist, I work with my clients every single day to harness the mind’s potential. All aspects of mental, physical and emotional health have a psychological component as the mind and body are one system.

Most people I work with have no idea how resourceful they are when we first meet and often settle for second best. Sooner than they think the  clients  I work with access the astonishing resources we have as human beings and the results can be very powerful. Even clients in crisis or  with chronic anxiety or depression tell me that when they get back in control, the crisis has changed the course of their lives on a long-term basis.

If you want a free, half hour, no obligation chat to discuss how you can get back in control of your life, just give me a ring or drop me an email.

The Power of Love for Children

Posted by Jill Tonks in Blog - (2 Comments)

David Hamilton outlines in his blog the results from research into the power of love for the children in Romanian orphanages. There is some irrefutable evidence now about how parental love or equivalent can dramatically impact on a child’s physical, emotional and mental development. If you are interested in tapping into your innate skills and knowledge as a parent, check out my parenting genius programme. It’s a unique approach to parenting which draws on the most up to date research from neuroscience, evolutionary psychology and parenting approaches and combines it with the best techniques from hypnotherapy and mindfulness.

For a free, no obligation, chat about how to tap into your innate parenting skills, get in touch.

This article by Trevor Silvester tells the story of Darin whose life has changed using Cognitive Hypnotherapy for weight loss. It’s truly inspirational!

So often I meet people who believe the opposite that you have to be extraordinary to make significant changes in your life;you don’t! It’s just a trick that the unconscious plays on your mind to keep you as you are.

None of us like change;we are hardwired to stay the same as sticking with the familiar has kept us safe throughout our evolution. And yet we are  all changing all the time. We are supremely adaptable beings. Are you the same person you were a year ago, 5 years ago, 10 years ago? I doubt it,so change is always possible even though it isn’t always easy.

If you are ready to step into your potential, whatever challenges you face in your life, get in touch and we can discuss how I can help you.

This article from positive psychology news shows how positive emotions can be helpful in moderation only. Over optimism can result in risky behaviours and decisions.

So often when working with clients with anxiety or depression or just really unhelpful habits and behaviours, the negativity inherent in these traits serves a purpose. Clients who come to see me have used all their will power to change but nothing changes. The reason for this is that the unconscious mind has developed a pattern in response to a previous problem. What is a problem now used to be a solution to a previous problem that has outlived it’s usefulness. As we work together and get to the bottom of how and why this problem started, its a bit like maturing the part of ourself that isn’t working anymore.

So often when we resist the negative aspects of ourself, they become stronger. When you accept and understand them they can transform and become something more helpful and often more powerful as the tension between the conscious mind and the unconscious dissipates and resources are unlocked.

Let me give you an example. I’ve been working with somone recently who has an alcohol problem and felt as if his life was on pause. He traced that feeling back to being bullied at school, long before the alcohol was an issue. The connection was that he wanted to stay at home with his family in response to the bullying and the alcohol had been part of a withdrawal pattern at an unconscious level to protect him. When we matured this part of him,it was like the play button was pressed and he was able to get back in touch with his desire to follow a career as a teacher which he is now doing.

If you want to get back on track and take the handbrake off your life, embrace and understand any negative traits you have, it can make a big difference!

It’s coming into February, my busiest time of year. It’s cold, we might get snow and the extra boost that Christmas and the New Year brought is wearing off.

How can you use this time of year to pause for reflection and take a broader look at your life.

This questionnaire is from the Human Givens Institute, it will enable you to look at whether the innate needs you have as a human beings are being met.

The core principle is that we all come into this world with some core needs. When we meet these we have a happier and more fulfilled life and we can develop the resources to move through whatever life throws at us.

  • Security — if we feel safe we can develop and grow fully
  • Attention (to give and receive it) — a form of emotional nutrition
  • Sense of autonomy and control — to make responsible choices
  • Emotional intimacy — to know that at least one other person accepts us totally for who we are, “warts ‘n’ all”
  • Feeling part of a wider community, something bigger than ourselves
  • Privacy — opportunity to reflect and consolidate experience
  • Sense of status within social groupings, family, friends or at work
  • Sense of competence and achievement, believing that we can achieve
  • Meaning and purpose — which come from being stretched in what we do and think.

This check list fits very well with the research from positive psychology and on what makes us happy.

We are also born with an innate set of resources which can enable us to meet these needs.

  • The ability to develop memory, which enables us to add to our innate knowledge and learn
  • The ability to build rapport, empathise and connect with others
  • Imagination enables us to time travel and view things differently in the past and the future and problem solve more creatively.
  • Emotions and instinctive responses
  • A conscious, rational mind that can keep us in check as we think things through.
  • The ability to ‘know’ — that is, understand the world unconsciously through metaphorical pattern matching
  • An observing self — that part of us that can step back, be more objective and be aware of itself as a unique centre of awareness, apart from intellect, emotion and conditioning
  • A dreaming brain that preserves the integrity of our genetic inheritance every night by metaphorically defusing expectations held in the autonomic arousal system because they were not acted out the previous day.

Many of the clients I see present with a particular issue such as weight loss or confidence or even anxiety and depression. Often underlying these issues are unmet needs and the misuse of our innate resources. For example, anxiety is the negative use of the imagination; anticipating a negative sometimes disastrous future for which there is no evidence whatsoever. Without realising it, this makes you feel unsafe which can result in a retreat from your life and get in the way of  you living the life you want.

If this blog triggers any thoughts about things not being ‘quite right’ for you. Do the questionnaire, use the time for reflection this time of year can bring and decide what needs to be different and take action.

Billy Connolly ‘ Wisdom is the constant questioning of where you are. And when you stop wanting to know, you’re dead. ‘ How do you wake up in the morning going ‘ Oh God here we go again’? You’d be on your deathbed saying ‘ At last! The day I’ve looked forward to all my life’ I don’t want to say that. I want to say ‘Oh Jesus Christ is that the time already?’

Discover your Parenting Genius

Posted by Jill Tonks in Blog - (2 Comments)

The Children’s Society have just launched a new report into the well being of children :   

This report identifies the six priorities for children’s well-being which are:

– The conditions to learn and develop
– A positive view of themselves and an identity that is respected
– Have enough of what matters
– Positive relationships with family and friends
– A safe and suitable home environment and local area
– Opportunity to take part in positive activities to thrive

Implicit in this report is the importance of you as a parent in nurturing your child’s well being.

In April, in partnership with my colleague Diane Laird, a parenting specialist with a children’s charity, we will be launching a new unique one day programme for parents to discover their parenting genius.

The parenting genius one day programme is based on the most up to date research in neuroscience and child development. It draws on techniques from mindfulness, positive psychology and cognitive hypnotherapy to bring you and your family a unique approach to parenting.

We’ve been parenting for thousands of years, we know how to do it but some of the pressures on us these days get in the way of us doing this well!

The programme will enable you to:

  • Understand the core knowledge and skills to be a parenting genius
  • Discover what your children need and how you can meet those needs easily
  • Learn simple, effective techniques to manage yourself when things get tricky

Course Content

You will have an opportunity to understand and plan how to tune into your child and respond appropriately.

We will focus on teaching you how to develop emotional resilience and create a powerful parenting partnership whether you are living together or apart.

If you are interested in fine tuning your skills as a parent, get in touch for a free, no obligation chat

Anthony Worrall Thompson, a famous UK chef, was recently caught for shoplifting. My 12 year old daughter told me this joke about it.

It’s so easy to poke fun at someone so famous who makes such a stupid mistake. Many famous celebrities have been there before him – so what’s going on?

As human beings, with our astonishingly powerful brains, we have amazing potential to succeed to great heights and fail dismally. I spent many years working with criminals as a probation officer and it never ceased to amaze me what appalling decisions people made when under acute stress. One young lad stole a double-decker bus – he couldn’t drive – which caused mayhem! A middle age man in debt robbed a bank with a courgette and served 10 years for armed robbery. Both their lives were destroyed by an irrational decision in the spur of the moment.

So what’s happening here? Joseph Le Doux in his book ‘The Emotional Brain’ says ‘Strong emotions make you stupid’. Literally stress triggers our old brain into a primitive fight/flight response and the higher brain, the cortex, shuts down. This means that our problem solving ability and perspective go out of the window and we get hijacked by strong negative emotions like anger and fear which when acted upon can lead to irrational decisions.

The phrase ‘ you can’t see the wood for the trees ‘ is what can happen when we experience stress. Quite literally we lose perspective – our vision becomes telescopic and we allow negative emotions to run away with logic and sense. The strangest things can happen then! Sometimes people do crazy things as a cry for help; they can’t take control so do something that means someone else will.

So how do we overcome this?

  • Firstly it’s about recognising what acute stress can do to us.  It’s important to understand that more often than you think, there is a solution.  If there isn’t an obvious immediate solution, most things can be made more manageable.
  • Secondly and often the most important factor here is to seek advice and support.

Every client I work with has lost perspective and feels out of control in some way. Whether it’s a confidence issue, an entrenched alcohol or drug habit, an eating disorder, depression, anxiety or a more minor phobia or unhealthy habit like smoking; all my clients need extra help to marshall their resources to achieve change. Most are surprised by how much easier change can be than they realise and are able to get back in control again quicker than they think.

If you feel out of control in your life in anyway, see it for what it is – a challenge to be overcome. Speak to someone else about it and if you need a free, no obligation chat, just give me a call.

‘There are may ways of going forward, but only one way to stand still’ Eleanor Roosevelt.

Take action today!

Stop chasing happiness in 2012…….because you already have it.

This isn’t my usual New Year blog for one simple reason: this Christmas was very different to any I’ve ever experienced before.

On 30th December with my husband and 3 children in the car on the way up north to see my family, our car caught fire on the motorway. We were flagged down by an astonishingly kind human being – an off duty fireman. Had he not done this who knows what would’ve happened as we didn’t see the flames rising from the front of the car.

In that moment as we huddled together waiting for the 3 fire brigades and 2 police cars to make us safe, all my concerns and worries faded into insignificance. I had everything I needed right with me, my nearest and dearest.

I’ve stopped myself speculating what could have been – it’s of no help whatsoever, it would only serve to generate fear which is just not helpful. Why worry about what could’ve happened when it didn’t. I’ve chosen to channel my thoughts and feelings in a different direction.

So in that moment I realised that whatever gets to me, live is for living and embracing because you never know what lies around the corner. Life can turn on a sixpence so best to get on and enjoy it rather than sesrching for stuff you don’t really need or want.

Your happiness is right under your feet and I’m planning to celebrate and appreciate that every day. If it doesn’t feel like that for you right now use that feeling to guide you to how you can get back in touch with what makes you happy and do something about it.

If you search the world for happiness, you may find it in the end, for the world is round and will lead you back to your door. ~Robert Brault