The Gentle Mind

Sympathy, empathy and Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy

The words sympathy and empathy are used widely these days. Often interchangeably.

But they’re not the same.

Sympathy is more a feeling of pity for someone. We share the same feelings. Often, in reality, a relief at not having the same problems.

Empathy, on the other hand, is the ability to understand how someone feels. When we relate with empathy, we give the other person space to own their emotions and feelings.

This empathetic understanding means you can imagine how they might feel based on what you know about that person.

So once you understand the problem you’re better placed to help that person find an answer to their negative emotions.

And guess what? Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy is one way of leaving a problem behind by changing behaviour through understanding.

Empathy - How it works in practice

Being concise and empathetic, understanding means we’re well-placed to scope out a problem.

That’s you and me working together.

And clearly defining a problem means we can more likely come up with an answer - a solution to help someone thinking that’s out of sorts.

The thing is you, the client, have to understand that empathy is compassion, but it comes with what can appear to be tough love.

It’s not really.

It’s not getting tough with the person. It’s getting hard on your thinking where it’s out of sorts and not helpful.

To be blunt

If you’re in a pit of despair about something - like your stress, anxiety, overeating, low self-esteem, drug taking, a phobia - I’m not getting in that pit with you.

That won’t achieve anything.

But what I’m going to do is help you out.

That way the learnings are all yours and the success belongs to no one but you.

Think of a coach and an athlete. The coach doesn’t run the marathon alongside the athlete. They get them mentally and physically ready for the challenge so they can do it.

Think of a teacher and pupil. The teacher doesn’t sit the exam with the pupil. They get them prepared to pass.

And like the two examples above what I do have is endless belief that you, the client, can do it.

The victory will be yours. All yours. And it tastes sweeter for it.

Trust is all it takes

Academically it’s called The Therapeutic Alliance. That’s the highfalutin term. But in everyday language it’s trust.

It’s the biggest thing. Everything between us depends on it.

You and I have to trust each other and you have to believe and trust that the process will work.

If you do - and you enjoy the process - you’ll find that it’s not too hard to change and walk away from the old harmful version of you.

Who am I?

I’m James Thomas. A Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist. I’ve helped people come to terms with their childhood abuse, their overeating, cocaine taking, ketamine habit, catastrophising, procrastination, hoarding, stress, anxiety, insomnia, cancer pain, bereavements, break ups, being cheated on, to name but a few.

I have rooms in Louth and Lincoln.

Contact me at or call 07787563099.

There’s a calmer version of you in there somewhere...

And by working together, you can get there.

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