When I turn to face the future, I leave the shadow of the past behind me....
Helping you find your way....
Specialist in OCD, Anxiety and Phobias
My name is Sandra Wilson and I am a solution-focused Clinical Hypnotherapist, based in Bristol. I work face to face and online. If you are visiting my site, chances are you, or a loved one, are not feeling your best and you need some help to feel better. Perhaps you are feeling especially anxious about Coronavirus and what your life might be like as we move out of lockdown. Society is going through profound change to protect our best interests at the moment but not everyone is finding this easy.
I want to warmly welcome you and invite you to take a closer look at how I might be able to help you. Maybe you are in emotional pain, feeling anxious, afraid or trapped. Maybe you are struggling with unwanted thoughts, compulsions or phobias. Perhaps you want to make changes but lack confidence, or any belief that change is possible. If this is true, you are not alone. My video, below, explains more about what hypnotherapy is, and how it could help you. Just get in touch, it is a simple step on the road to feeling better.
Contacting me is very easy - if you are on a mobile simply click on the phone, email or chat link on the strip below. On a desktop please click on let's chat icon below or call me on 07734328834. If you subscribe to my mailing list, you will be able to book a FREE 60 minute initial consultation and I will send you a FREE relaxation recording, and a monthly email offering news, free tips and suggestions.
The picture is of me and my dog, Raffety, in Cornwall last year. She is my inspiration: she lives in the moment for the moment!
How can Hypnotherapy help me?
CHRONIC ANXIETY, OCD AND COMPULSIONS
Our happiness and well-being can sometimes be hijacked by our brain's primitive "fight or flight process which, ironically, is designed to keep us alive. This takes place below the level of conscious awareness. We may feel anxious, depressed and angry. Our primitive ancestors relied on these emotional states to help them survive but somehow the brain has not updated these processes in over 2 million years. The primitive brain is pretty much the same as it was in cave-dwelling days - which is why it can cause havoc in the modern world! Typical symptoms include compulsive behaviours, hyper-vigilance and catastrophic thinking.
TRAUMA, PTSD AND PHOBIAS
If you have suffered trauma in your life that has left you with unpleasant PTSD type symptoms, it means that your memory is stuck in your "primitive" brain. I will NOT make you relive your trauma as this is not helpful. Hypnotherapy can help you relax and learn techniques to calm your anxious mind. Many people find that deep relaxation is enough to help them cope, but if you need more, there is a special and simple technique that I use to help you process your traumatic memory. A very similar technique can be used to help you manage a phobia. It can help with all different types of phobia ranging from non-complex (such as heights, spiders, flying etc) or more complex ones including social anxiety and agoraphobia.
The menopause can be a challenging life change for so many women. It can cause unpleasant physical and psychological symptoms including hot flushes, hair loss, incontinence, loss of libido, insomnia and anxiety to name but a few. Women can experience a loss of self confidence and self esteem at this time of life. Hypnotherapy can work on two levels : it can help you to relax and it can help you to improve your sense of self-worth. There has been some promising scientific research into the impact of hypnosis on hot flushes in recent years and the benefits of a calm and relaxed mind can help with the psychological effects too. Please note I run a FREE facebook group called Sandra's Sunday Chillzone which is aimed at women experiencing symptoms and helping them to relax. Just click on the Facebook icon on my homepage or below if you are using a mobile. Search for the group and request an invite.
Insomnia has many causes, some physical, some environmental and some psychological. Trouble sleeping should always be evaluated by a medical professional but for the type that is caused by anxiety, hypnotherapy can be helpful. When we worry, we release a whole heap of "nasties" into our systems - hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. These are released when the 'fight or flight' mechanism is triggered, to help us run from danger. It is unsurprising, then, that we cannot sleep when we are stressed or worried. We may have worries on our minds, and we may be even more worried when we are unable to sleep, which creates a frustrating "snowball" effect. Hypnotherapy can help you relax and create goals that lead to better sleep habits, as well as challenge unhelpful thinking around sleep.
LOW SELF-ESTEEM AND CONFIDENCE
Low self esteem is a very common problem and stems from negative perceptions and beliefs about who we are and what we are capable of. You might find that you compare yourself to others, especially on social media. Thinking well of yourself is not arrogance. If you can change the way you think of yourself, and become your own best friend instead of your own worst critic, you can change your life. Hypnotherapy can help you identify unhelpful thinking about yourself, help you to accept who you are, and help you to recognise where you might want to make positive changes. You can learn to assert yourself more confidently, trust in your judgement to make the right decisions and overcome the negative beliefs that might be holding you back, whether this relates to your career, education or personal relationships.
ADDICTIONS AND UNWANTED HABITS
Addictions and habits take root in the primitive regions of the brain, often as a result of our naturally-occuring "reward" neurotransmitters. We train ourselves (unwittingly) that in order to survive, we must continue with the habit/behaviour. A template is formed, which is lodged in the subconscious mind. A template can be overwritten with new healthier behaviours which stimulate the same chemicals. It is a simple process but takes practice and perseverance. Hypnotherapy can be helpful for many types of addiction including tobacco, drugs and alcohol, gambling and food.
WEIGHT MANAGEMENT AND HEALTHY EATING
Our relationship with food can be complex. Food nourishes us both physically and emotionally; it is the latter that can cause issues. Comfort eating is a common response to stress and other difficult emotions. The brain's "reward" chemicals are stimulated and released when we consume certain foods, especially sugary ones. We learn that in order to survive, we need to comfort eat. This takes place below the conscious level of awareness. We simply recognise that we feel better but soon after we berate ourselves for doing so, and this undermines our self-esteem. Hypnotherapy can help you increase your tolerance of difficult emotions and create healthier eating habits.
CHRONIC PAIN, FIBROMYALGIA AND IBS
Many people are surprised to learn how helpful hypnotherapy can be for chronic pain and other chronic conditions. Pain is felt in the body but originates in the brain, and is transmitted through a complex system of neural pathways, a bit like an old-fashioned telephone switchboard. Hypnotherapy can help sufferers feel better simply by learning to relax during the trance process, but they can learn techniques to stimulate helpful neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. These can override pain messages.
Where do I want to be in the future?
Frequently asked questions
WHY SOLUTION-FOCUSED HYPNOTHERAPY?
I practice solution-focused hypnotherapy which combines psychotherapy with hypnosis. I will not analyse why you have your problem during our sessions because I want to help you to focus on your goals and feel better more quickly. You may find this approach a little different but many of my clients say they find it refreshing and empowering, as it enables them to learn about how their minds work, and discover how much power they have to make positive changes. A typical session will involve around 20 minutes of talking, where we will discuss your overall goals and the steps needed to get you there. The remaining 30-40 minutes is spent in "trance". This is a deeply relaxing experience where you are firmly in control but your conscious (and sometimes negative) inner "chatterbox" is quietened down, enabling me to communicate with your subconscious mind. I will make positive suggestions during this time to help your subconscious mind absorb the changes you want to make.
WHAT EXACTLY IS HYPNOSIS AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
A hypnotic "trance" can be an incredibly relaxing experience that puts you in touch with your subconscious mind. Trance is a natural state of consciousness that we go into several times a day. Have you ever enjoyed a pleasant daydream? Have you ever been so engrossed in a film or a book, that the outside world fades away? If the answer is yes, you were in a trance! It simply means channelled, focused attention on one particular thing. Many people don't realise that when we feel emotional pain and ruminate on our problems, we are also in a trance state. We are exclusively feeling something or thinking about something.
In a therapeutic setting, your focus will be on the sense of your body and mind relaxing completely, under my guidance. You will be listening to the sound of my voice, but remain in control at all times. I will gently guide you into a deeply relaxed state so that you are able to absorb therapeutic messages contained within a pleasant visualisation. This state of consciousness will enable you to bypass your negative inner critic, so you are able to take on board the changes you need to make for your benefit. When your conscious mind is free from all its chatter, your subconscious mind is easier to communicate with.
WILL I BE ABLE TO GET HYPNOTISED?
In theory, some people are more susceptible than others, but it is possible for the most cynical, resistant person to be hypnotised. It is important to come with an open mind, and not have any fixed expectations. Most people find the process deeply relaxing and pleasant. If you are committed to getting the best out of the experience, you won't put up any resisance (consciously or subconsciously!). It's also important to bear in mind that hypnotherapy is a two-way process; I do not wave a magic wand and make your problem disappear. Your engagement and involvement throughout the process will be necessary for the success of your treatment.
DOES HYPNOTHERAPY WORK?
If I were to ask everyone who has ever had hypnotherapy, they would all report back different experiences. Some might say yes straight away, but others might find that the effect is more subtle. It might not be immediately obvious. The mind is a strange and compelling thing that we still don't fully understand! What I will say is that when you focus on your problem, it tends to hang around. When you analyse why you have your problem, you could end up tying yourself up in knots trying to find answers. Ask yourself this : do you believe in your mind's ability to overcome barriers, many of which are self-constructed whether we realise this or not? Hypnotherapy can help you to challenge these beliefs and what we are capable of. You will gain better insight into how your mind works and learn techniques to move beyond your problem. It is NOT a magic cure but many people find it offers them a new way of seeing themselves. It is very empowering to know that you are more in control than you think you are, and you are capable of more than you have ever imagined. I have been there too, and it helped me enormously.
DOES THE SUBCONSCIOUS MIND REALLY EXIST?
If I were to ask you if you had ever forgotten to breathe, chances are you would say no, it is automatic. That is because your subconscious mind breathes for you, when your conscious mind is elsewhere. If it were left to your conscious mind, you might forget because of all the other things that you have to think about! Many of our physical and mental processes are subconscious. That is, we do them without awareness. Have you ever driven somewhere familiar and not remembered exactly how you got there? If it is a familiar journey, it is logged in your subconscious. If someone were to step out in front of you and you had to do an emergency stop, would you think about it? No, you would just do it! In a very similar way, negative thoughts and emotions are the same. They just happen, and this can often be the result of unhelpful patterns logged in the subconscious. Through hypnotherapy, I can help you identify and change these patterns.
DO YOU WORK WITH CHILDREN?
Hypnotherapy works well for both adults and children. I hold an enhanced DBS certificate and I am qualified to work with children. Children respond well to hypnotherapy as they have such dynamic imaginations! However, I do not practice hypnotherapy on children younger than 8 years old and not without a parent present at all times. I am happy to have an informal chat about your child's needs and to decide if I am the right person to help them.
What am I afraid of?
If you would like to book an appointment for a consultation please call, email or text me by clicking on links below. I will ring you at a mutually convenient time. If you subscribed to my mailing list, you will get a FREE consultation (see homepage)
Don't live in Bristol? No problem! I also work online via Zoom - like Skype. You will need a phone, tablet or laptop with a good broadband speed or 4G.
Home Practice Clinic :
Runswick Road, Brislington, Bristol BS4 3HZ
Montpelier Clinic : Contemporary Therapies, 10 Picton Street, Montpelier, Bristol