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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Hypnosis: Developing the Confidence to Succeed at What You Thought You Couldn't Do

What is clinical hypnosis?
Clinical hypnosis is a form of therapy which has been known to help clients to develop self confidence. As I've mentioned in prior blog posts, while hypnosis isn't a quick fix or a magic bullet to resolving problems, it's often more effective than regular "talk therapy" in helping clients to overcome obstacles.

When performed by an experienced and skilled hypnotherapist, clinical hypnosis can help clients to access the unconscious mind where people often have untapped resources they are unaware of in regular waking consciousness. With regard to developing self confidence, clinical hypnosis allows clients to access other experiences where, initially, they might have doubted their abilities to succeed, but they succeeded nonetheless. It can be a very uplifting experience to succeed in an endeavor where, originally, you thought you wouldn't be able to do it.

Using hypnosis to access these emotions is more than just remembering what it was like to succeed. Hypnosis can help you on an unconscious level to use the felt sense of that successful experience to develop self confidence in the present. Hypnosis can help to amplify your former state of self confidence in a particular situation from the past and use it in the here and now.



Why affirmations often aren't enough
Many people use affirmations to help overcome a lack of self confidence. Affirmations can be helpful but, for many, they often remain a superficial experience that doesn't go very deep. The advantage of using hypnosis is that it can help you to access deeper states of consciousness where you can often bypass the negative thinking that creeps in on a conscious level.

Are you giving yourself negative hypnotic suggestions?
You might not even realize, until you experience hypnosis, that you are giving yourself negative hypnotic suggestions. As strange as that might sound, most of us have experienced times when we've engaged in automatic negative thought like, "I can't do that" or "I'm not good enough to do that" that keep us trapped in a state of low self confidence. If this type of thinking is habitual, it can be a powerful way to keep us in that state.

Break the cycle of negative thinking
Breaking the cycle of automatic negative thinking can be a challenge, but it can be accomplished.

Having access to the felt sense experience of earlier successes from any time in your life and being able to apply it to a current situation can help you to overcome emotional obstacles that keep you stuck in your current situation. It doesn't matter if it was a feeling of success that you experienced yesterday or when you learned to ride a bike when you were five. It doesn't have to be related to what you want to accomplish now. It can be any experience in your life. It's all stored in your unconscious mind and accessible through clinical hypnosis.

Lack of confidence is often related to earlier trauma
For some people, their lack of self confidence is related to earlier trauma. If this is the case, a skilled hypnotherapist can help you to overcome the trauma. Once again, this isn't magic and it's often not quick, especially if there are multiple traumas. For other people, their lack of self confidence is part of their depression. Hypnotherapy can also be helpful to overcome depression.

How long does it take to develop self confidence?
There's no way to tell in advance how many sessions might be needed to overcome a lack of self confidence. Everyone is different. There can be many factors involved, including the client's level of motivation and willingness to change.

Developing the self confidence to succeed at what you thought you couldn't do through clinical hypnosis can be a life changing experience.

Choose a licensed therapist
When you're seeking clinical hypnosis treatment, make sure you choose a licensed psychotherapist who has the clinical skills and expertise to help you. There are many hypnotists who have learned hypnotic techniques, but they're not trained mental health professionals. If more complex underlying psychological issues arise, they don't have the skills to deal with it. When in doubt, ask about licensure before you start treatment.

To find out more about clinical hypnosis, visit:  ASCH - American Society for Clinical Hypnosis

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist. I provide psychotherapy services to individuals and couples, including clinical hypnosis, EMDR, Somatic Experiencing and dynamic talk therapy.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist & Hypnotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Are Your Core Beliefs Keeping You Stuck in Your Life?

As a psychotherapist in NYC, I often see clients who have core beliefs about themselves and about life that keep them stuck in their lives. Many times these are unconscious beliefs that they don't even realize they have until they begin psychotherapy and we begin to explore why they're not where they want to be in their lives.


Are Your Core Beliefs About Yourself Keeping You Stuck?
One such common belief that often keeps people feeling stuck or trapped in habitual ways of responding to life is "I have to put other people's needs first." This is the type of underlying belief or attitude that often goes unrecognized until people come to therapy.

The following vignette, which is a fictionalized composite of many different cases with all identifying information changed, illustrates how underlying core beliefs about can keep you feeling stuck in your life:

Mary:
When Mary first started coming to therapy, she felt frustrated and discouraged about her life. At age 35, she wasn't were she hoped to be in her life. Having completed graduate school more than 10 years before, she hoped to be further along in her career. Instead, she was stuck in a low-level supervisory job while she watched her peers get promotions throughout the years to senior managerial positions. She knew she was just as capable as they were, but she remained stuck in the same job while their careers were taking off.

In her personal life, she had hoped to be married with a couple of children by the time she was in her 30s, but she kept having one unfulfilling relationship after another. At the point when she started therapy, she wasn't in a relationship, and she felt discouraged about the prospect of getting married.

As we began to explore Mary's underlying beliefs and attitudes, it became apparent that one of Mary's beliefs was that she had to put other people's needs before her own. Raised in a devoutly religious home, Mary was taught that putting your own needs first was self and wrong. Without realizing it, she learned to sacrifice her own emotional needs so she could please others. This belief showed up over and over with family members, friends, colleagues, and especially in romantic relationships. She never learned to say, "No" when almost anything was asked of her. It was mo wonder she was exhausted and felt stuck.

At work, she often gave her colleagues and bosses ideas that they presented as their own without giving Mary credit for them. She thought of this as just helping them out without realizing that she was sacrificing her chances for recognition. It was such an ingrained pattern that, at first, Mary didn't see it.

In her personal relationships with friends and men she dated, she was always too ready to put her other people's emotional needs before her own. If there was any type of conflict, she would be the first to apologize and take the blame for the problem. She was barely aware of her own needs, and people frequently took advantage of her. Even when she did recognize that the other person was being unkind or selfish, due to her attitude that other people's needs must come first, she pushed down these feelings. It was more important for her to see herself as being "a good person" by taking care of others than taking care of herself.

As we continued to work together, Mary developed an increasing self awareness as to how she would sabatoge herself in her personal and work-related relationships. At first, she was confused about what to do about it. Her belief that she was "a good person" was very much tied in with gratifying others and neglecting herself. It took a lot of work in therapy, even after she became aware that her lifelong belief was keeping her trapped in her life, for her to change. She had to learn that she could still be "a good person" and put her own needs first. Then, even more difficult, she had to learn to put this into practice.

Ingrained beliefs and attitudes about yourself and how you "should" be in the world can be difficult to change. It often forces you to question and challenge long-held beliefs and family traditions. Your loved ones, who are accustomed to your behaving in a certain way, might not like these changes. It can be an uphill battle within yourself and with others.

What motivated Mary to change is that we clearly defined where she wanted to be in her personal life and in her career. With clearly defined goals as her guide, she was able to start looking at and letting go of beliefs and attitudes that were keeping her from achieving her goals. She started by learning to say "No" to unreasonable requests from friends and family members. Progress with this type of change is rarely linear. So, it was to be expected that there would be some back sliding along the way. But, overall, Mary made progress. She was amazed, at first, at how much more energy she had when she wasn't saying "Yes" to everyone's needs.

At work, Mary began putting her ideas in writing to her bosses rather than giving them away to colleagues or allowing others to take credit for them. She was an intelligent and creative thinker. Over time, she began to get the recognition she deserved, and she was soon promoted.

With regard to her romantic life, as she began to feel she was more deserving, she also began to make better choices in men. Whereas she used to choose men who tended to be selfish and narcissistic, she now chose men who were more empathetic to her needs. After a year or so, she met the man who would become her husband and the father of her child. She was still challenged from time to time, especially when it came to balancing her needs with her family's needs but, overall, she made a lot of progress in this area.

Letting Go of Beliefs and Attitudes that No Longer Serve You Isn't Easy

Letting Go of Beliefs that Keep You Stuck
Looking at how your core beliefs might be keeping you feeling stuck and trapped in your life isn't easy. Letting go of beliefs and changing your attitude is even more challenging. But if you want to live a more fulfilling life, being willing to change is vital.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist who provides psychotherapy to individuals and couples, including dynamic talk therapy, EMDR, clinical hypnosis, and Somatic Experiencing.

I am certified in mind-body oriented psychotherapy.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006.


Photo Credits:  Photo Pin