The Gentle Mind

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and hypnosis for International Women’s Day 2023 for Women’s Health and Equity #EmbraceEquity

From March 4th to March 7th is International Women’s Week. A time to promote and celebrate women.

Now let’s cut to the chase. There’s a lot of work to be done.

A gender-equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A world that's diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated.

We’re coming up short.

So, until there’s gender parity what place does Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and hypnosis have in helping the cause?

For women’s health

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and hypnosis can help at several stages of life.

Getting pregnant

It’s not uncommon for hypnotherapists to hear from their clients that they have got pregnant after years of trying when they came to hypnotherapy for something unrelated.

So, what’s happening? Research has shown that hypnosis for fertility doubles the success of IVF treatment (Soroka University, Israel).

Researchers aimed to discover if hypnosis could make the embryo transfer to the womb more successful.

However, if the womb is contracting, it can affect the chances of the transplant being a success. The research found that indeed hypnosis did seem to greatly increase the chances of becoming pregnant.

Ok, this study is related specifically to IVF, but it goes some way to explain the phenomenon of hypnotherapy clients getting pregnant when being treated for another issue.
The reduction in stress appears to improve the chances of pregnancy ‘taking’.

Dealing with stress in pregnancy

The mother’s emotional state in pregnancy and in the early postnatal period can have a long-lasting effect on the child.

It’s an unfortunate fact that pregnancy can also be a time of increased domestic abuse and relationship strain.

Environment in the womb, which to some extent can be controlled by the mother’s emotional state, can alter the development of the foetus - with a long-lasting effect on the child.

So, a combination of talking therapy like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and hypnosis can reduce the baby’s heart rate and help with attachment.

Hypnobirthing

Why? Hypnobirthing can give a more comfortable and natural birth. And if birth is more comfortable and natural and drug-free for you, then it’s also more comfortable, natural and drug-free for your baby.

For the mother hypnobirthing lets a woman work with her body that is naturally designed to give birth.

Quite simply we’re reducing the fear and negative thoughts women have been ‘programmed’ with from an early age (especially the idea of pain and stressing about du dates) and replacing it with calm confidence and focus. Some mothers feel it makes giving birth the most empowering experience of her life.

Also, we’re looking to lower the production of stress hormones that can be passed to the baby. In effect, keep oxytocin levels higher.

The menopause

The menopause affects 80% of women in some way or another.

Now, let’s be clear at the outset. I’m not a medical professional. I can’t say whether you need HRT, or not.

But what I am is a hypnotherapist, a Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist to be precise.

And using hypnotherapy you can learn, for example, how to reduce the number and impact of hot flushes, find ways to sleep better, gain motivation for improving your exercise or reducing weight, stress and anxiety.

Here’s a more comprehensive list of what hypnosis and hypnotherapy can help you with during the menopause:

  • Hot flushes
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Low self-esteem
  • Loss of libido
  • Itchy skin
  • Incontinence
  • Insomnia
  • Stress
  • Anger for no reason
  • “Brain fog” when you can’t think straight
  • Loss of confidence

The menopause can also come at a time when it seems like everything is up in the air.

For example, your children leaving home, parents dying, you picking up your career again - or it ending, thoughts about having a place in the world now you can’t have more children.

All these can cause stress and anxiety. And all are things that can be dealt with using hypnosis and hypnotherapy. Basically not letting anything bother you so much. These thoughts might keep popping up, but they don’t have to have anything like as much meaning as you simply get on with life.

With regards to the menopause, hypnosis and hypnotherapy research has focused on taking away the severity of hot flushes.

Research measured skin temperature and found that clinical hypnosis lowered symptoms by 74% after 5 weeks. To expand on this point hypnosis also lowered the frequency and severity of hot flushes. As well as helping take away the anxiety. This taking control of the body’s thermostat also meant patients reported less/no embarrassment in public of having a hot flush: especially in the workplace.

For equity and fairness

Inequality drives human emotions of frustration, anger, jealousy and feelings of not being good enough.

And too many women feel like this - especially in the workplace.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

You have the right to assert. To question.

Assertiveness isn’t ‘getting arsey’. It’s quite simply standing up for your rights in such a way that that the rights of others aren’t violated.

We can role model this if you want so what I’m getting you to do is to learn how:

  • to express your personal likes spontaneously
  • talk about yourself without being self-conscious
  • disagree with someone openly
  • ask for clarification
  • say no
  • use your body language as support.

In short, when you are an assertive person, you can be more relaxed in the moment that others like to control (on the whole men are brought up to act like this).

In effect, assertiveness training reduces your stress by teaching you to stand up for your legitimate rights and reduce conflict.

You can pushback tactfully (as an aside I love Winston Churchill’s definition, “Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip.”)

Remember it all starts with your legitimate rights - remember them

1. You have a right to sometimes put yourself first
2. You have a right to make mistakes
3. You have a right to be the final judge of your feelings and accept them as legitimate
4. You have a right to have your own opinions and convictions
5. You have a right to change your mind or decide on a different course of action
6. You have a right to protest unfair treatment of criticism
7. You have a right to interrupt in order to ask for clarification
8. You have a right to negotiate for change
9. You have a right to ask for help
10. You have a right to feel and express pain
11. You have a right to ignore the advice of others
12. You have a right to receive formal recognition for your work and achievements
13. You have a right to say no
14. You have a right to be alone, even if others want to control your time
15. You have a right not to have to justify yourself to others
16. You have a right not to take responsibility for someone else’s problem
17. You have a right not to have to anticipate the needs and wishes of others
18. You have a right not to worry about the goodwill of others - it’s work not a popularity contest
19. You have a right to choose not to respond to a situation.

Who am I - a man - to talk to women?

I’m James Thomas a Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist. I’ve used hypnosis thousands of times to deal with clients’ stresses, anxieties, drug addiction, alcohol abuse, PTSD, overeating, low self-esteem, eczema, anger to name but a few.

I’m also a qualified hypnobirther and see clients who are struggling with the menopause.

Personally, I had a mum who was given a hysterectomy (and struggled) and two daughters who’ve experienced the glass ceiling.

This means I’d like to do my bit to make all women the best versions of themselves.

In effect, women are frequently told, “Because you’re worth it”, and now I’d like to bring that to life.

I cover all of Lincolnshire with my rooms in Louth and Lincoln.

Please feel free to get in touch at jamesthomas@thegentlemind.co.uk or call 07787563099.

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