Back in business – Stillpoint Reopens on 6 July 2020


Well, it felt at times that it would never happen!  So I am delighted to tell you that from 6 July I am once again able to see people in person at the Stillpoint Practice.  I have provided online therapy successfully throughout lockdown, and I will continue to offer this service,  but I do miss seeing people in person.  It will be good to be face to face again..

And as you know, the virus has not gone away and will not be disappear anytime soon, so Stillpoint is adopting best practice  to keep all Stillpoint clients and staff safe  – see the 2 info-graphics below.

Please note that physical distancing is now at least 1 metre not 2 however if one of my clients prefers to remain 2 metres apart in the treatment room, that is not a problem.

Mindfulness – some thoughts and 12 simple exercises


If you are new to mindfulness practice and are wondering what it is exactly, why bother , when and how to do it, I hope this helps you to make a start. If you have been practicing mindfulness for some time, I hope you find something new to add to your ability to be present.

Click here to download the document containing 12 simple yet wonderful mindfulness exercises I heartily recommend.

What is Mindfulness?  Does it mean I have to meditate?

There is a lot of myths and misconceptions about this thing called “mindfulness” including thinking that to enjoy the benefits of mindfulness you must meditate.  This is not so. While meditation is great, it does not work for everyone. There are many other ways to start practicing everyday mindfulness and you will find several of these on when the pages that follow.

So what is the difference between mindfulness and meditation. Though these two words seem interchangeable, they are not the same.

Mindfulness is a mindset; meditation is a way of  training to achieve it.

Mindfulness is the quality of simply being present — the experience of being open and aware in the moment, without judgment or criticism, focusing your mind on the present rather than wandering. When you are distracted, unaware of what you are doing, the end product suffers. Mindfulness is not just a state of mind — a lack of focus affects the quality of your work or whatever you are doing in that moment. How you do something matters more than what you do – for example, just think back to the last time you did something in a rush or in an angry mood and you get the picture!

But in addition to improving focus, for many the main benefit of being mindful is that it reduces stress and anxiety.  Most anxiety is caused when your mind is in the past or the future. If you are imagining a horrible future, things going wrong, running scary ‘what if’ thoughts, doom and gloom mind projections which grow ever more real as you run them over and over in your minds, you experience that fearful state.

When you ruminate on past failings, past wrongs and times we struggled, when you relive painful events, you relive the painful feelings also. Just like that imagined painful future the past too can be distorted and amplified – where the mind goes the body follows. And as you no doubt know, anxiety and stress significantly impacts our physical health including weakening the immune system, increasing the risk of major health conditions and reducing longevity.

If greater physical well-being and calmness isn’t enough motivation for you, scientific research shows that mindfulness techniques improve self-control, objectivity, tolerance, enhanced flexibility, concentration, and empathy — you gain mental clarity.

Practicing Mindfulness Exercises – a dozen ways you for you…Click this link  for the exercises which start on page 2!

Some Top Tips For Working From Home (WFH)


I have been working from home for over 20 years so based on my own humble experience and colleagues who also have worked from home for years, here are some top tips for those who are new to it:

Create a regular routine and activity schedule –  not just for work but also for rest and play. Remember work can expand to fill the time available so set deadlines, be disciplined. Take into account the times of day when you work best and make sure to schedule in breaks that you keep to.

Discuss your plans and schedule with those you share your home with – for example, let them know when you will be on video conference calls or doing other work which requires you to be free of interruption and background noise; share the household, daily life chores that need doing!

Create a dedicated workspace – pick a place where you can be comfortable and focused; minimize clutter and be organised; have what you use most immediately to hand; make it a place where you want to be.

Get outside several times a day – get fresh air and sunlight, stretch your legs, practice mindfulness for a few minutes, make calls while walking (and of course remain socially distanced if you are out and about)

Get dressed, just like you’re going into work – or at least be presentable should you get an unexpected video call occur!

Practice mindfulness – take 10-15 minutes each day to meditate (and/or pray if  you are religious)- it helps clear the mind and put things into perspective.

Virtual meetings are becoming the new reality so make sure you become skilled at it – both in running and taking part in virtual meetings. Become adept at the video conferencing platform(s) you may use such as Zoom, Go To Meeting, Skype, Google Hangouts or whatever. There is lots of good free tutorials available on You Tube.  When taking part in any meeting, be there fully – it is not an opportunity to multitask! Consider investing in a good mic and noise cancelling earphones.

Stay connected – Embrace the power of virtual and make working from home work for you…make time to connect socially; call people you have not heard from in a while and see how they are doing.

How My Online Hypnotherapy And Life Coaching Service Works


I have provided services to clients online since 2017, including virtual coaching for individuals, facilitation of global project teams and online hypnotherapy treatments.

Online therapy has been an increasingly popular choice for individuals for some years now, and while online therapy does not work for every client, it works well for most people. Please note that during the Covid-19 lockdown it is the only option available.

So who is online therapy for and not for ?

The following factors can help you to decide if online therapy is right for you.

  •  Online hypnotherapy as been shown to be as effective as face-to-face for many clients, including people suffering from anxiety and depression who may find it difficult to open up in person.
  • You need to have a good broadband connection that can handle video calls + suitable equipment – mainly just a pc/tablet/smartphone with a camera and good audio (earphones or headphones are useful though not essential).
  • You need to have a quiet, calm, private area where you can be comfortable and relax undisturbed for the duration of the session.
  • I am skilled and experienced in delivering therapy online, which includes having an effective contingency plan in place should internet connection be lost during the session.I also provide practical advice to help you prepare well and get most from each online session.
  • Confidentiality, security and privacy is assured.
  • It is more affordable that face-to-face therapy. Online therapists like me may work from home and so avoid paying treatment room hire fees and also save on travel time/costs – and thus can reflect those savings by reducing fees.
  • You save on travel time/costs by having treatment from the comfort of your own home.
  • Honesty is very important in therapy. Whether face to face or online, I cannot help if you hide or omit important details. You need to help me to help you.

For me, whether I see a client face to face or online, what matters is to build rapport, get to the heart of the matter and deliver treatment that enables the client to change  for the better – and to do that as quickly as possible.

If you would like to know more about my online service, feel free to give me a call on 07976 701223.

Duchess of Cambridge Uses Hypno-birthing


Great to see the Duchess of Cambridge revealing that she used hypno-birthing to help her during pregnancy. Such publicity should help many more women to embrace the power of hypnosis and discover its many benefits during pregnancy, in labour and beyond.  Both my kids were born using hypnosis.  I was at my amazing wife’s side throughout both births, so I have witnessed first hand just how much it can help control pain and more. Nice to think that many more women will also have a even more wonderful, much easier experience of giving birth when they follow the Duchess’s lead and use hypno-birthing. Click here to read the BBC article.

Special Offer in Support Of World Mental Health Day


World Mental Health Day is taking place on Thursday 10 October 2019 (this year’s theme is Suicide Prevention). To support this campaign and help people with mental health issues in general as well as those experiencing suicidal thoughts, I am giving a 20% discount to anyone with a mental health issue who books a treatment with me before 11 October. This discount will apply to the first and any subsequent sessions in the treatment process. For a free, initial confidential telephone consultation, or to just find out more about this offer and the help I can provide, call me on 07976 701223

Study suggests that stress in pregnancy ‘makes child personality disorder more likely’


I came across an interesting  article on the BBC website today about a research study which suggests that the children of women who experience severe stress when pregnant are nearly 10 times more likely to develop a personality disorder by the age of 30.   Even moderate prolonged stress may have an impact on child development and continue after a baby’s birth, the research study said.

The study involved more than 3,600 pregnant women in Finland in 1975 and 1976 who were asked about their stress levels thoughout their pregnancy, and their children were followed up. Of course the study is only indicative and other factors such as upbringing, physical health,  traumatic life events and family break ups could have played a part. It does however seem self evident (to me at least!) that amount of cortisol and other neurochemicals that high stress levels creates would significantly increase the risk of harm to the brain and emotional development of a baby.

So while not conclusive it is a useful warning about the need for pregnant women to be aware of the effects of stress and to seek help as necessary to minimise stress during pregnancy. I shall be interested to see if the publicity this study generates brings an increase in the number of pregnant clients who come to me for help to prevent and manage stress.

 

 

Self hypnosis and other thoughts – my article in the Sheffield Telegraph


This week, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by local newspaper journalist Nik Farah and her resulting article about me features in the Sheffield Telegraph today (18 July 2019). It gives some insights into my journey to becoming a hypnotherapist, the power of hypnosis (including self hypnosis) and  I also share some of my thoughts on the misuse of smartphones and the alarming rise in the number of children with mental health problems. As followers of my posts will know, both issues are subjects close to my heart.

The article begins ….”When it comes to the misconceptions surrounding hypnotism – movies and stage performers have a lot to answer for,” laughs Gerry McAuley.  Click here to read the rest of the article.

 

My BBC Radio Sheffield interview on 4 July 2019


The 4th of July is a very memorable day for the USA, and it is now also a memorable day for me as I appeared for the first time on live radio. It was an interesting experience sitting in a studio with a large microphone looming large in the eyes.  The interview includes the play of one of my favourite songs  and is here if you would like to listen.

 

8 Steps to overcome overwhelmedness


As well as being a hypnotherapist and life coach, I also work with a great bunch of people in The Change Maker Group, one of whom (a marvellous woman called Vanda North) has just posted a really nteresting and useful short post on simple, practical ways you can help yourself when you have too much to do or are overloaded with information or  emotional issues (or are experiencing all three!).

You can read Vanda’s post by clicking here