Tales from the Advanced Diploma

Apr 04, 2015

Our Advanced Diploma students are required to keep a journal, throughout the year of the course, which they then draw upon to write their Self-Assessments. Here are some examples of some of their experiences and reflections.


e.g. 1) MODULE 1: Assertiveness and Communication Skills

This module was for me one of the most important modules, because communication of clear non-ambiguous thoughts and ideas to another individual is vital in order to get responses from others to the “actual” messages that I am articulating. Although I believed that I was an assertive person in my communications, I have discovered that I sometimes come across unintentionally as either ambiguous or as aggressive. I learned to start to become aware of my tone of voice and my body language, both of which must be congruent with my intentions when I speak. That is absolutely necessary to achieve assertiveness.

During the module when we practiced behaving and talking in different ways, I found it most difficult to imitate or understand a “passive aggressive” type of communicator That was a good lesson for me, to be able to become better at hearing and seeing when someone is being passive aggressive. I learned that assertiveness is about respecting oneself as well as respecting others also. A useful technique we learned was to make a core statement and simply keep repeating it like a broken record. Another key ingredient to becoming more assertive in communication is to become a better listener. This is a lesson that I will continue to work on. I do listen, but still tend to sometimes “complete the other person’s sentence”. I mistakenly thought I was showing interest by interjecting here and there and being an “active” listener. To the contrary, I now see that this can be disruptive to another person’s thought processes (like an unintentional “pattern interrupt” in NLP terms), and I am learning to recognize when I do this, so that I can stop myself.

A few more good lessons in this module were about learning how to give and receive both positive and negative criticism and also how to deal with anger effectively. Within my family, as a mother and spouse, I have to deal with these on a regular basis. Giving and receiving negative criticism is uncomfortable for most people and is therefore often avoided. The downside of avoiding “constructive” negative criticism is that it cheats people in your relationships or work from having important information that may be vital to making positive changes.

Learning how to handle and diffuse anger is a useful skill to have when dealing both with personal relationships and with upset/ angry or oversensitive clients. This must be done usually in a very subtle manner that is non-confrontational. First, I would acknowledge that I can see the other person is very angry, then subtly “mirror” them, and gradually pace them to a slower, calmer breathing rate, until they manage to calm down a little. From there I can try to understand, by listening first to what is going on, and then respond respectfully and assertively as appropriate.


e.g. 2) MODULE ONE - Assertiveness & Communication Skills

By boosting my own self-esteem, confidence and assertiveness skills, I can pass on these skills to my clients. Demonstrating from experience how attainable these skills make them so much more powerful. I learned to recognise the clearly defined differences between non-assertive and assertive behaviour.

Through role-play during our training weekend, we experienced the different characteristics of the main types of communication behaviour, being able to recognise each type and how best to work with each type. This also includes taking note of a person’s body language and tone of voice.

The essence of assertive training is to deal with day to day situations with regards the way people behave towards you and help others to recognise the different patterns. Thereby enabling them to improve the way they handle different situations of communication.

We experienced this through role play; I do not like being ‘seen’, so this was difficult at first. However, I gained confidence and realised if you give it a go you surprise yourself as to what you can do. Also everyone else was nervous, so you realise it is not just you it is the same for everyone.

There are several techniques, the broken record where you keep repeating a core statement, this consists of exactly what you wish to achieve.

By encouraging a client to use affirmations, resistance and negative thought fades and positivity grows. My responses to the homework questions on Page 30 in the Manual:

If something I am trying to do does not work out it brings up memories of being told I am useless or stupid from childhood.

When I am working on anything to do with my hypnotherapy.
To become independent and free to make my own decisions.
My future is a thriving hypnotherapy practice, making a positive difference for others.
I have found that looking to the past just holds you back, it can’t be changed, the way you look at it can be, however. You can choose to look forward and work towards positive goals.
Every day I look out the back windows of the house and state how grateful I am to be living where I am. I look at the flowers in the garden and say how beautiful they are. Whenever an opportunity arises to be grateful during the day I always take the opportunity to acknowledge it. Using affirmations is very powerful to achieving your goals and building positivity in yourself.
Fogging was very interesting and I certainly wish I had known about this technique on many occasions!

I needed some lights fixed in the garden; the electrician came out and said he would be back later. I asked how much it would cost and he replied BD15 or 20, normally I would have left it and dealt with it when the job was done. This time however I said I wanted to fix the price and felt that there was not much involved in the job so BD 15 was a fair price for the job. He agreed, I felt good with the outcome and I feel more confident to deal with other similar situations.

During our training weekend Phil and Leila demonstrated an anger situation, this was difficult for me as I have been on the receiving end of this type of behaviour firstly as a child from my parents and then my husband. I became emotionally upset, but with Leila’s guidance and support was able to deal with role playing anger. I learnt from this that the way I had dealt with anger in my life was by ‘zoning’ out. It was a shock to me as I had not realised just how damaging the behaviour had been to me and how I had ‘disappeared’ as a person. With the help of the Diploma course and now the Advanced I am turning the corner to find me and making my life positive and living in the moment.


e.g 3) MODULE 2 – Archetypes and Advanced Parts Therapy

Introduced to more regression techniques and being able to discern the ancestral characteristics of a client. Thereby enabling more effective and appropriate types of regression techniques to used, enabling the best therapeutic outcome. Including, understanding the sub-personalities of the W S N, by going deeper into their personality traits and identifying the part that owns the problem. I have called on the Inner Advisor or Inner Guide during some of my practice sessions, I have found not only does it help the client find resolution but bring comfort and a greater belief in their own abilities. Since writing the above I have worked with clients on finding their Inner Guide and it has proved very valuable to each client.

I have found one of the most important actions during parts therapy is to always show respect of the sub-conscious and each part, by thanking them for their help and where appropriate their agreement to reframe the way they deal with an emotion or situation. This always brings about a good response and then should you at anytime in the future have any of these parts comes forward again, they are aware of who you are and know you will be respectful of their position and be willing to work with you again.

When being a ‘client’ during a practice session within the module, I asked to work on my fear of driving. Whilst in hypnosis, it came to light that during a previous life, in America, I was driving my car and I knocked a child down and killed them. I had had this repeated nightmare all my life and as a result I had not learnt to drive until I was forced to at age 44. Now I know exactly why. The person working with me took me to a theatre and as I sat down in a seat I felt so sick I thought I would have to leave the room, but as I watched the movie and relived the experience it began to abate. I felt drained afterwards and was now dealing with a strong feeling of guilt.

The lady who worked with me offered to get together to do Gestalt but my daughter had gone down with swine ‘flu so I though it better to keep my distance.

Phil gave an extremely fascinating presentation about Carl Jung, I was so fascinated that I went out and bought ‘Memories, Dreams and Reflections’ to learn more about his Analytical Psychology. I will give an update later on as to my feelings on this book. I also bought the ‘I Ching’, more on that later as well. He was very intuitive and it was refreshing to find someone who was open to all possibilities and did not put people into boxes. The Mandalas were beautiful and extremely complicated, at the moment I cannot imagine ever being able to create something so beautiful. I will be doing research into Mandalas to improve my knowledge and understanding.

At the beginning of the presentation Phil told us a ‘story’, he asked us to then interpret this in a drawing. I put down how I felt at the time but did not explain it very well. In essence it described the circle of life represented by beginning and ending with the bowl of knowledge. As is the case when we are in our younger years we are given the knowledge required to grow and develop, from then on it is up to us to acquire knowledge, expand on it and improve ourselves where ever possible and hopefully improve others lives in the process. However, when someone is a high achiever, in any field, there are always those that wish to take it away from them, as represented by the invading forces in the story.

This can take you right back to the beginning and you have to start all over again. Tiger Woods is an example of how if you take your gift or abilities for granted and abuse your situation, then eventually it catches up with you and you have to face the facts of life.

I practiced the Miracle Box technique with a volunteer during this module. It was very powerful. The following is how the session practice went:

Working on Tardiness.

Box: Wood with intricate design, coloured stones - semi precious with gold decorations.

First look in box.

Spinning top.

You felt it meant spinning out of control. Trying to do too much too quickly. Everything going so fast, out of control.

Stop technique.

Agreed to do a list of jobs needed for each day, prioritise the jobs and only set yourself the jobs that are achievable during each day.

Second look in box.

Pear shaped stone, really pretty.

Meant slow down, stop and smell the roses.

Anchored the feelings in the right hand by squeezing the egg (pear shaped stone). Slow down; take time to enjoy the simple things in life, like flowers, the sunshine, the coloured lights on the buildings outside the apartment.

Third look in box

Key looked gold to begin with but then became brass colour.

This was the key to the problem. The key to study.

The key to the problem. Jobs needed to be done, but put off the tasks because of how you felt from the spinning top. Feel planning is the answer.

Time for yourself; add to list to ensure list is balanced. Join an exercise class.

Fourth look in box

A marble, held in left hand, means joy, fun, happiness.

Anchored those feelings.

Since then she has emailed me to say she found a stone just like the one she described at her home, it was a gift given to her many years ago. She is also making list to enable her to keep control over her day to day working.


e.g. 4) MODULE 4 – Advanced Breathing Therapy & Primal Trauma Release:

This Module was one of the most beneficial for my own personal development. Even though I was aware of the physiological effects of different breathing patterns and how they can affect our emotional states, I was not prepared for the sudden shifts in emotions and physiology that resulted from ‘Holotropic’ breath work. The background Tibetan music had additional soothing and healing properties. I was able to put it into practice immediately and found myself feeling much ‘lighter,’ at peace and feeling somewhat ‘cleansed’ and energetic.

This exercise has a centering effect on me and a shorter version of it (30-40 connected breaths) combined with self hypnosis have become part of my daily routine.


e.g. 5) MODULE 4 – Advanced Breathing Therapy & Primal Trauma Release

Breathing techniques are an essential part of almost all spiritual disciplines, holistic health systems and relaxation therapies. Breathing is essential to good health; we eliminate waste and toxins by means of the bowel and bladder functions and through the skin via the sweat glands. 80% of the waste by-products and toxins of the body are eliminated through breathing.

Through the practice of pranayama, the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide is attained. Absorbing ‘prana’ through breath control technique links our body, mind and spirit. Breathing is one of our most vital functions in itself, but also our moods and feelings are reflected through the rhythm of our breath.

The word ‘Pranayama’ has two parts: ‘prana’ is energy, the self – energizing force that embraces the body. ‘Ayma’ means stretch, extension, expansion, length, breath, restraint and control, describing the action of pranayama. Pranayama is when this self-energizing force embraces the body with extension, expansion and control.

Our life is full of all kinds of stress so we tend to ignore the way we breathe. It tends to be fast and shallow. The use of only a fraction of our lungs results in the lack of oxygen and may lead to complications like sleep disorders and fatigue. Therefore, the negative energy of being restless and troublesome leads to lesser prana inside the body. By practicing deep and systematic breathing using pranayama, we re-energize our body.

Primal Therapy: The breathing is very deep and fast, the back tense and arched; hands clenched and strained, jaws tight and rigid; the whole body fighting to contain “an eerie scream welling up from the depths”.

It is a hysterical “letting go” of conscious controls of the body and emotions which opens up the unconscious to awareness. I have read some articles about Dr Arthur Janov and his work since this course to gain more knowledge on primal trauma release. I find it very interesting.

Personal observations:

Having practiced the breathing techniques in the class, I found the results very interesting, with different reactions from each student. I use the breathing techniques for my fitness classes in the weights, cardio and relaxation sessions, using different breathing technique in each.

I used this technique in therapy when a client had an abreaction. I also use meditation breathing everyday myself. I have also been talking to my neighbour who is now 5 months pregnant about breathing techniques.


e.g. 6) MODULE 4: Advanced breathing therapy and primal trauma release.

I believe that I can apply the information and knowledge from the advanced diploma in hypnotherapy as well as nutrition. I strongly feel that the use of breathing therapy will enable my clients to understand and deal with ‘out-of-control’ emotions rather than resorting to ‘emotional eating’.

Combining breathing therapy with the use of biofeedback would demonstrate how a thought (chemical) could lead to changes in the body (physical manifestation). I would also briefly describe the Tibetan concept of “a reciprocal character between mind and the life-air” confirming that we can affect our minds by manipulating our breaths.

When dealing with a client regarding nutrition, I will incorporate deep breathing as one of the ways to support and maintain optimal immune function. I love the idea of ‘psychic hygiene’ and will recommend the daily practice of 20 connected breaths. Controlled breathing will also be taught as a technique to manage emotions until they can be dealt with more appropriately. (I will use a combination of CBT and analytical therapy to address the originating cause of these emotions).

I will also teach these breathing techniques to a client suffering from panic attacks by first explaining and demonstrating the difference between shallow breathing and deeper, more controlled breathing and then asking them to imagine a particularly stressful situation. Once they start to feel the familiar signs and symptoms of a panic attack, I will assist them to ‘breathe through it’. Similarly, if a client has a severe emotional abreaction in hypnosis, ‘breathing through’ the emotions will be of more benefit to them than being taken back to a ‘safe place’ and revisiting/revivification of the emotion again at a later stage.


e.g. 7) MODULE 4: Advanced Breathing Therapy & Primal Trauma Release

This was a very interactive session, the closeness and energy in the room when we were experiencing the breathing exercises was amazing. We were sharing really unique personal experiences with one another. I personally experienced a feeling in my hands as if they had expanded to ‘incredible hulk’ size; I feared I would have to ask someone to feed me at lunch time!!!!

I was aware of my right foot turning inwards and a feeling along the bottom of both feet of a thick gel pad. I had been suffering from dizziness for about 5 months due to gas leaking from our air conditioning, after the breathing I was very dizzy when I got up but then it completely went not just at that moment but from there on in. Phil said that my feet in particular had been vibrating at a very high level. I had not felt that.

It was an amazing experience, very freeing for the emotions. When we had the chance to guide one of our group through the breathing it was a very peaceful experience, to quietly guide and share such a personal experience was a lovely gift to receive and give.

I have now found Eric Berne’s Games People Play book and have received from Amazon C. G. Jung’s ‘Memories, Dreams, Reflections’ and the book ‘I Ching’, so I have plenty to keep me busy.

My smoking client saw me the day before this session and I learnt that when filling out the questionnaire and during the initial consultation, pertinent information can be withheld, not deliberately, but sub-consciously. Also that, in this instance, and I am sure there are many others, that people can be very sneaky. I have learnt not to say just non-smoker, when the client has come specifically for quitting smoking cigarettes, as this is what has been programmed in and every other form of smoking, in this case small cigars is OK. So I shall cover all bases and say all tobacco products. He had quit smoking cigarettes completely, which was fantastic, he had however, failed to mention he liked small cigars and was smoking 4 each day at the weekends. As a result of clearing smoking generally, a ritual became evident. When he was on the plane on his way back from Saudi each week he visualised going through the front door, going to the fridge, taking out a beer and then lighting a cigar. I reframed this with taking water out the fridge, because you become slightly dehydrated when flying so this would enable him to feel really good and when he thinks about smoking his cigar take a deep breath and feel how good that feels to have clean, fresh, healthy lungs.

I put the breathing into action when one of my friends had a panic attack, it was really effective and she is really pleased to have an effective tool to help her. She now feels that she no longer has to fear the panic attacks as she has a means to take back control. I am hoping that at some time in the future she will feel ready to use hypnotherapy.


e.g. 8) Module 6 - Effective Therapy for Depression, Grief, Bereavement and Loss

Own Goals

Further knowledge about using CBT

Gain useful information about how to help Clients suffering from Depression and Bereavement.

Practice new skills


  • I felt this was an essential module for me. I have had three Clients who presented with other symptoms/goals, including a Client who came for smoking cessation where therapy revealed an unresolved grief. I was grateful at the time of knowledge I already had of Kubler-Ross’s work, Gestalt, safe-place, and my background of nursing and dealing with trauma. I now have a refreshed knowledge and useful framework of tools to use. I have already started to employ the Affect Bridge with a Client, that I share with a Clinician, who has a diagnosis of Clinical Depression. We have unveiled abandonment issues following a parental divorce when she was 13years old and previous feelings of loneliness due to disharmony and fighting in the family.

I will certainly employ the use of The Last Goodbye, Parts Therapy and Likes/Dislikes.

  • I feel like I am starting a journey with the use of CBT. I have gradually introduced it to my practice over the last year, using homework sheets for Clients to identify their own limiting beliefs, observe their behaviour, identify triggers and clarify their goals. I am very positive about employing it now with Clients presenting with depression and look forward to learning more.
  • The case studies were good learning experiences for me; bringing together current knowledge and gaining more views and ideas from colleagues. I shall certainly reflect on these now and in the future.

e.g. 9) MODULE 7: Grieving, Bereavement, Death and Loss

I strongly agree with Elisabeth Kubler-Ross that everyone deserves respect until the moment they die. Grieving and bereavement can involve many circumstances including: moving house, divorce, death of a pet, loss of friend, loss of a loved one. The grieving process is different for everyone and there is no right amount of time to spend grieving – it depends on the individual and the circumstances surrounding the grief. I would firstly try to establish what kind of grief my client is experiencing and what emotions they are going through at the time.

During the ‘cycle of grief’ it is possible that one can fluctuate between feeling elated and hitting ‘rock bottom’. I would explain to my client that it is normal to experience these feelings and mood swings. I would try to help them find ways to cope on a day-to-day basis. I would like to get my client to a point where they accept and acknowledge that they have lost something or someone and that it is ok to mourn for their loss. I would give them a CD to take home to help them relax.

I would also teach them self-hypnosis to achieve acceptance and peace. If a person feels that they have unfinished business with a person that has passed away, I’d suggest to the client to go home and write down all the things that he/she would have liked to say to the person. Then take some time honouring the person and thanking them for their time spent together and the lessons they have both learned. I will then ask them to do away with the piece of paper in whatever way that seem fit – it may be letting it go/ down a river, burning it, blowing it away etc. as an indication of the end of certain time or experience.

Depending on the circumstances, I would reframe the grief. I did this for my daughter to tell her girlfriend. My daughter’s girlfriend some years ago was on vacation with her mother whom she had been unable to see too much lately. They spent two lovely vacation weeks together. Right before going home, her mother died. The daughter was in shock of course.

What I did say to my daughter (whom at the time thought this was very sad and some would say unfair), was that there is another side of this that was beautiful – they got to have a good and close time together before her mother left – and ending their story of life together with good loving memories. There are people that the last word said between them has been about anger and hurting words. This for most left behind is hard to get over.

Complicated grief is when someone is stuck in a phase during the ‘cycle of grief’. I will use CBT with hypnotherapy to help a person find his or her own inner resources to overcome this phase. Losing someone may trigger unresolved fears and anxiety such as abandonment. Time line therapy can take them back to a time where they were really happy, safe and confident. I will ask the client to step into that feeling, feel it, sense it, hear it and then bring it back with them. I may also anchor this feeling in my client. Depending on the client and what they are experiencing I will use a combination of regression, parts therapy, gestalt therapy, archetypal therapy and calling on an Inner Guide or Higher Self to help them find resources to cope.


e.g. 10) MODULE 2: The Psychology of Depression, Bereavement, Grieving & Loss – providing Effective Therapy with CBT & clinical Hypnotherapy

A poignant sentence in the course notes for me was, ‘bereavement refers to any event that includes loss, this was an ‘Aha!’ moment as I learnt you experience feelings, actions and behaviours of grief with loss and not just death. I had never thought of grief in that way although I had felt it.

Dr. Kubler – Ross who raised awareness of the grief process and described the emotional states of a person’s struggle to avoid change and Hopson’s seven stages cycle made a huge impact for me.

I found two other pictures of cycles which I do use with my clients to give them another way of understanding their loss. I found that helping clients to identify that the process of grief as a natural and individual cycle is a starting point to therapy. I also include some information on the five stages of grief which they can take away to read and refer too. (I have included this as Appendix 1 for your perusal)

This module was also informative in helping me to offer a supporting role for clients and their partners, family, carers and anyone who has been touched by grief and loss by referring to and understanding the following module notes on:

  • Listening with compassion guidelines
  • Offering practical assistance
  • Provide ongoing support
  • Watching for warning signs
  • Suicide
  • Related sources of information for supporting a grieving person
  • What you may experience
  • What helps

The information discussed in the module was extensive and informative. I received a great insight into this subject and I am alarmed by the use of drugs given to clients (adults and children) to treat what some medical professionals term as a ‘Biological disease’, and their reluctance of using or referring more patients to therapeutic and self help remedies. Clients I have seen for depression are confused and exhausted by having created depression symptoms.

Personally I like using the CBT techniques and have complied an ABC checklist for clients to help them to start the process in identifying their thoughts, actions, behaviours and the consequences for themselves.

Used with the many tools and assertiveness techniques I have found this to be very beneficial to change. Supported with hypnosis the clients have choices to find an effective way out of depression and gain so much more freedom from depression.

I have purchased the CBT and managing depression with CBT for dummies books and continuously refer to them for additional help. I am looking forward to completing the CBT diploma with Transformations in 2015.

Utilising the further learning of a person centred approach for congruence, positive regard and empathy made me an even better listener. Recognising that the relationship with memories can be fostered and shared in a more beneficial way was great learning for me. Trauma as described in the manual made me aware that suffers was already survivors.

Having different options as highlighted in this module of therapeutic treatments raised my knowledge and gave me further tools in my tool box for dealing with grief, trauma and depression.

I have been asked to lecture at a diversification in the workplace group in the Dubai Financial City on a regular basis. I have already given a presentation on stress and relaxation and self hypnosis and plan to do the next one on The Psychology of Depression, Bereavement, and Grieving & Loss.

At present, a lengthy case I have worked on alongside with the medical profession and family members of a girl since April 2013 , who was suffering with alcohol abuse, suicidal attempts, self harm, depression, anorexia, personality disorder, negative family issues, being sectioned twice, abortions and physical abusive relationships is in the process of making changes in herself. Using CBT techniques, Eriksonian language, relaxation, breathing techniques, Mandala drawings and other tools during this time with her she is taking greater control of her life in a beneficial way and is progressing well without now the help of medical and family intervention and finding a different future for herself to follow. She has stopped drinking for two months and has embarked on a cooking course. She is studying in Dorset away from her old environment and is producing outstanding results with food and is talking about opening a small bistro with a small menu. Her family relationship is improving and she is achieving a constant healthy weight.

I also found Phil’s presentation on death to be incredibly informative. I purchased additional books to gain a better understanding of death and rebirth and the spiritual understandings of life, as this is of great interest to me. The ‘bardo experience’ in ‘The Tibetan book of the Dead describes the six realms of existence and within our psychological states. I haven’t finished it yet but have really enjoyed learning a different prospective of knowledge than I previously had. I particularly like the sentence that nobody is going to save us, everything is left to the individual, the commitment to who we are. This Phil highlighted in his presentation and I interpreted it as ‘Free Will’.


e.g. 11) Module 3: Foundation course in Virginia Satir’s Conjoint Family Therapy

Own Goals:

Gain an understanding of dealing with conflict within families

Gain some tools in which to deal with family problems

Have more insight into a therapy that I have little knowledge about.


  • Very engaging tutor who displayed genuine care, compassion, knowledge and openness.
  • Time keeping was exceptionally poor initially and very slow preamble into any form of learning, which was initially disappointing, over the first two days. However, the remaining days highlighted the skill of this lecturer as she brought it altogether and indeed showed congruence in herself and asked for it from others - wonderful!
  • Temperature reading: I thought this was a healthy, ‘adult’, focussed template that I will certainly use within committee meetings that I have to have regularly, and I will use as a homework exercise, like CBT, for Clients to address conflict within the home and at work.
  • Congruence: Aiming for congruence, being prepared to take the outcome of being congruent and dealing with when it’s not safe to be congruent; I already use with my Clients with low self-esteem and have difficulties with conflict,
  • Family map: I think there is huge benefits for having something that can visually help pin point areas of conflict. I think this could be used for many problems that Clients present with such as neuroticism, forgiveness issues, inability to come to terms with past problems etc.
  • Changing rules into guidelines: I automatically adopted this in to my practice and ask most my Clients in an informal way to think about their “Top Ten rules” or their family’s rules and observe them challenging them themselves as they voice them aloud or write them down. It has provided a good starting point to build well-formed goals to work towards and I am certain that the mere cognitive voicing of them has been its own therapy.
  • Iceberg: I think this is a useful, clear tool to help find out what the Client wants. I have used this once with a Client who presented for anger management. It gave me a format to work with, to identify what the Client really wanted and for him to identify his own triggers. This led to his own revelations about his behaviour and resulted in us working on his fear of failure.
  • Family sculpt: I thought this was an incredible piece of work and amazed that physically partaking in this was so emotionally powerful for myself and others. I could see and feel the externalisation of internal experiences. I have discussed the stances with Clients on a descriptive and pictorial level and it has brought some insight, recognition and humour as they realise what stance they are taking when they are communicating with others and what others are taking with them. I will continue to build on this useful tool.
  • Family reconstruction: Again this was an insightful piece of work that I found very profound. I am unlikely to employ this as a lone-worker, although I think I may use symbolic items, such as teddy bears to work with Clients. I already use Gestalt work in my analytical cases and I feel with more knowledge and practice this could be part of my tool kit. I was also impressed with the honesty of this model in that it states that it is “the beginning and not the end” of the journey once choices have been made. That in relation to the chaos-theory, that the family unit is organic and therefore has controls and patterns that alter and grow in complex ways, thus making those new choices can be bold and not necessarily popular with others. I am inspired to learn more about this.

My own goals were met with this module.


Example 12) MODULE 8: Working Therapeutically with Children, Young People & Parents

This course came at just the right time for me in a professional sense. I had just had a referral; I had been recommended as a therapist to a Mother whose son has major anxiety issues, he was often experiencing panic attacks and coming out in hives when he became very stressed. He was just about to turn 11 and was still sleeping in the marital bed of his Mother and Father.

I have worked with children for years, teaching dance and drama and also working as a Learning Support Assistant with children with Behavioural Difficulties and Special Needs. During my work as the latter I wasn’t given much in the way of training or support and so had to rely on my own reading, advice and tips from others, research, and often instinct, about how to support these children that had such a wide range of individual issues. The work was exhausting, interesting and rewarding, but I would have obviously appreciated more training because I was never really sure whether what I was doing was the ‘best’ approach. So this module was great, because I have now received some of the training that I’d previously been missing, and it was also as a confidence booster because, through the course learning, I realised how much I already know and am aware of because of my own previous independent work and research during my time working in education.

The manual was comprehensive and was, again, filled with useful resources for both working with children and also how to approach, and work with, the parents; to better their communication and ways of relating to their children. This incorporated detailed information regarding the ages and stages that children go through, both physically and emotionally, from babies right the way through to adolescents. The information on Growth Mindset and Fixed Mindset was food for thought and I’ve found that I’ve changed the way that I praise and encourage the children of my friends and family to incorporate a Growth Mindset response. I’ve also told any of the parents of those children who will listen to encourage them to do the same.

I took copious notes when watching the Robert McNeilly DVDs; the way he works is brilliant. He’s so unassuming, builds rapport so quickly and is constantly Leading and Pacing, McNeilly uses plenty of humour and yet manages to maintain a calm, firm and respectful manner with each of the children. And what really struck me is that he’s ready at all times to improvise around what the children say and do, incorporating it into the therapeutic process: e.g. highlighting, for the little girl, where the appropriate place is to poo, by using the dog poo metaphor when the girl brings it up, and then, for the boy who is having trouble keeping his bed dry, building an entire dodgeball game full of Eriksonian language and embedded commands, and doing the same with soccer with the twins when they reveal that it’s something that they both like playing together. McNeilly is also very respectful with the children, finding out what it is (if anything) that they want to change, not just what the parents want changed. I was so impressed by his work that I borrowed the DVDs and watched them repeatedly to really work out, and take note, of all the subtleties involved in McNeilly’s way of working therapeutically with these children.

Not long after the first module I had my first session with the boy with anxiety and it was ever so fortuitous because he quickly revealed his passion for football in general, but particularly for Arsenal football club. He had little toy figures of his favourite players and so, because he is very energetic and kinesthetic, I asked him to bring them in for the second session. I prepared a loose idea for a script, and we played this football match out with the figures at our second session. I found that the client wanted to be involved in the verbal side of the game and so I found a way for him to be involved, as a sort of a coach, advising the ‘Happy Team’ on how they could win against the ‘Fear Team’ (he chose the names for the teams, too), a role he seemed to relish! So much so, in fact, that he asked if he could extend his role as coach by advising and coaching the ‘Fear Team’ players on how to become ‘Happy Team’ players which he then did until he had all of the ‘Fear Team’ over on the ‘Happy Team’s’ side. The advice was great, different for each player e.g. ‘When you start to feel the fear just remember that it’s okay. Just be confident and take deep breaths’. He taught another ‘Fear Team’ member the ‘Stop Technique’ which he had gone through in our first session together.


Example 13) MODULE 6: Active Hypnobirthing & Advanced Pain Management

Whenever I think of this module, the first thought that comes to mind is one of surprise! Surprise because of how much I enjoyed it!

Being truthful, I was looking forward more to the advanced pain management element of this module than active hypnobirthing; I really did not know what to expect! I had no personal experience to draw on apart from what I had seen in television programmes such as “One Born Every Minute” and my view on giving birth was that a woman lies on her back, she screams a lot, seems to be in a lot of pain, there’s a lot of blood, it’s very messy and then eventually a baby is born one way or another!

By the end of the 3-day course, I felt considerably enlightened! I realise that childbirth for some women IS how I described it above but I now understand that it really does not have to be this way. In fact I am quite shocked that women rely so heavily on the medical profession to give birth but then if I had not attended this module I would not have known any different either!

I gained a phenomenal amount of information from this module. Some examples of what I found most interesting are: the video of an egg being fertilised by the sperm and the journey the fertilised egg makes within the woman’s body; seeing the model of the pelvis and how “the baby” sits within the pelvis and the effect of the supine position upon the baby’s delivery; watching natural birthing videos; Dr Michel Odent‘s pioneering approach to woman-centred childbirth; the concept of childbirth as a natural extension to the psycho-sexual process.

I thoroughly enjoyed the practical exercises. The final exercise of bringing together everything learnt over the 3 days to practice giving birth including the simulated feel of contractions, gave me a real insight into not only what a women might experience but also her supporter too. I was able to appreciate the value of carrying out this type of role play with clients going through a hypnobirthing programme.

At this particular point in time I have not decided if I will offer active hypnobirthing as a service to potential clients – the result of the exam may help me to decide! Regarding the exam, I did find that it helped to bring together the information that I had learnt as part of the module and it also required some further research which was useful.

I mentioned the fact that I have taken a course on Active Hypnobirthing to four friends - three who had not given birth and 1 who has had a hypnobirth for their second child, to gauge their reaction to hypnobirthing. The three ladies who were yet to give birth had clearly placed all their trust in their midwife and medical staff to tell them everything they needed to know and were more interested about the drugs available to them for pain relief. They could not tell me anything about their birth plans apart from what drugs they had requested. One described hypnobirthing as “a bit too hippy”. The friend who had had a hypnobirth for her second child was extremely positive about the whole experience and commented how different the birth of her second child was to the first.

If I did want to offer hypnobirthing as a service to potential clients, I think it would be necessary to spend a considerable amount of time educating women to take control of the birth of their baby. I also think it would be necessary to brand myself as a specialist in this area in order to be promoting a break away from what seems to be a medical profession led event. At this point in time I am not sure this is a route I wish to pursue but I am not closed to the idea.


Some students have also chosen to include a general introduction or overview of their experience, in addition to their Self-Assessment for each individual Module:



As I reflect back over the past ten months of the Advanced Diploma course, I know that this has been an education in many areas of my life, and that integration and assimilation of all that we have learned module by module, will continue to change me as a person, and my life over the coming weeks, months and years. We have come so far, and yet we haven’t reached the end of the journey, as this is a continuous process of personal and professional development.

After having completed the Diploma Course in June, I left on holiday still feeling a little under-confident in my abilities, and although it was easy for me to work with people that I didn’t have to charge, when it came to charging a fee, I perhaps had it in my mind that I was still too inexperienced to take on paying clients. Through the additional knowledge gained on each module, advice given during professional supervision sessions, and skills learned during assertiveness training, I have found my attitude is much healthier, and I am now able to charge my fee without any hesitation or embarrassment.

This new found assertiveness actually enabled me to confront a supervisor in an unjust payment situation at work, and rectify it to my advantage, where the old me would probably have just let it go! I have also been more assertive when asking for payment for part-time private tuition, increasing my fees for the first time in several years. When the parents of the children I teach, accepted this without any adverse comments, I found that I had a corresponding feeling of increasing my self-value. When I was able to accept payment for a ‘failure to show’, I knew that I have finally solved the issue that I had had with accepting payment for services rendered.

I realize though, that I still haven’t really actively sought out clients, even though I initially made a point of having advertising leaflets and business cards produced after our first module. I distributed only a token few and still have many at home. Therefore the clients that I have seen over the past ten months have come to me through friends or colleagues.

Perhaps the reason for this apathy in searching for clients is that I initially decided to take the Diploma in Hypnotherapy for personal development reasons rather than as a career choice. I had decided that hypnotherapy, would be a useful tool to combine with the Reiki therapy that I already practiced more as a hobby/interest than as a means to earning money.

When starting the Diploma Course it crossed my mind that this could possibly be a new career path, but I hadn’t really given this much serious thought until more recently when I came to the realization that I was building quite a toolkit of modalities for therapy, investing quite a large amount of money in collecting all this knowledge, and becoming more confident in my abilities to deliver quality therapy.

Recently I have begun to construct a website, am more active in giving out business cards, and am more forward in introducing myself as a Hypnotherapist & Psychotherapist when meeting people for the first time. This usually sparks the interest of the person, and I am then able to advertise myself and the modalities of therapy I practice, and I am hoping that this may eventually lead to business through word of mouth. I hopefully have recruited a hypno-birthing client just by chatting with her at an aquarobics session! After the summer, with continuing my professional development, I will be more committed to developing and building a Practice and will look into ways of more proactive advertising.

All the modules we have studied during our Advanced Diploma Course, have given us as therapists added knowledge in a variety of useful fields; grief and bereavement, depression, working with children and families, and sexual problems, as well as giving us more in-depth knowledge on techniques to help us to deliver quality therapy, such as, Archetypal Parts Therapy, indirect or ’Eriksonian’ language techniques, assertiveness and communication skills, using advanced breathing techniques and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

With this added knowledge, I have found when working with the clients I have had, that almost intuitively, I select modalities of therapy to help them with their specific problems. The importance of the initial interview has really struck home as where I really begin to get my teeth into the client’s presenting problem, as I try to uncover the reasons behind it, and I now, more than before, realise that hypnotherapy is a part of the whole picture, combined with those other techniques we’ve learned during the past two years, to achieving our therapy goals.

Coaching, counseling, teaching, careful and skilful questioning, giving of self-assignments, teaching self-hypnosis, breathing techniques and stress relieving techniques, empowerment and goal achievement, and utilizing NLP techniques learned, all become important in facilitating the client’s healing process; it is the client who ultimately with our help, heals him or herself. Knowing this and having begun to gain those skills means therapy sessions are now more enjoyable and less stressful for me as the therapist. I can now integrate those different techniques along with the hypnosis or hypnotherapeutic session, to benefit the client to the best of my abilities.

However, it is not only with clients during therapy that I have found myself using these new skills, I have also found myself naturally using different language (metaphors, stories and indirect language) with the children I teach privately, helping to build self-esteem, confidence, and trust in their own abilities. One child, who I tutor in math, has gone from being a D grade student, to achieving an A minus, after just one two hour session.

It was obvious in our first lesson that the boy was under-confident in his own abilities, thinking he had a bad memory, and was finding it very difficult to learn the multiplication tables, which he’s been struggling with for the past three years. I told him that he had a great memory, reminding him of how clever he was, and how much he already remembered without even knowing that he remembered. I asked him how old he was, and then told him that coincidentally that was the very age when I found I was able to learn my multiplication tables and that before that age, I had also had had a problem remembering. It has been very rewarding to see his confidence in himself and his abilities grow and to see that he is now coping so much better with multiplication and division!

I was also able to give his mother some good advice on disciplining her children using the ’1, 2, 3 method’, when during a conversation she admitted to locking her son in his room for an hour, as a punishment for a misdemeanor. As a mother of four children ranging from two to ten years old, I think that the advice was opportune and her family will certainly benefit.

I have found that I am more easily using indirect language in my personal life with family and friends. Internalizing the language patterns from the ‘Salad Cards’ DVD which I listen to frequently. Listening to hypnosis CDs and positive affirmations has actually become a normal part of my bedtime routine and I can certainly feel the benefits in my life as my subconscious accepts the positive suggestions.

When I began on the Hypnotherapy course, I was just at the start of my menopause, and I was suffering physically from this; weight gain, water retention, low libido, low energy, loss of confidence, and sleep problems were just a few of the symptoms I had. While I still have some of the symptoms, I generally feel much healthier and more accepting of the changes I am going through.

The sessions that I have undergone as a client during hypnotherapy practice sessions, have definitely helped me to overcome some insecurities and anxieties. I have come to terms with my relationship with my mother, found forgiveness and lost my fear of the dark into the bargain. I have also become more aware that I had a need to always be in control, and have come a long way in changing this to be more relaxed and go more with the flow. Although sometimes I still feel this monster rear its ugly head, I tend now to be more assertive rather than aggressive and don’t get angry as often (especially in traffic situations!).

I feel totally happy, in most, if not all areas of my life. My relationships with my husband, children and friends have never been better. I feel content, relaxed, healthy and free from worries and anxieties. Things that previously upset me just leave me feeling relaxed and calm now. In fact the more that those things previously upset me, the more they now just leave me feeling relaxed and calm, so that now whenever I have to deal with those things, I am left feeling so calm and relaxed that I wonder if they were ever really a problem in the first place! Seriously, I do feel this to be true and I am in a very content, stress free place right now.

In conclusion, I feel that the Diploma and Advanced Diploma Courses in Hypnotherapy & Psychotherapy have been truly life changing. My personal life is benefitting in ways that I never imagined possible, and I am sure that with a little effort on my part, I can make a rewarding career as a Clinical Hypnotherapist and Psychotherapist helping to change other peoples’ lives, as mine has been changed, for the better, using a combination of the invaluable modalities and techniques I have learned during the past two years, as best suited to the client.



As we started the advanced diploma, I wondered privately whether it was going to be worth the money or the time but I was excited all the same and was happy to continue the journey that had started a year ago with the first diploma which had opened my world to possibilities I never knew existed.

At this time, while I felt quite confident of my ability to learn and to help myself and /or other people deal with various emotional problems, I was also aware and somewhat uncomfortable about how much more I did not know.

Using hypnotherapy to influence and change my own and others’ negative emotional and behavioral patterns, was deeply satisfying but I felt I needed more training in order to become a real good therapist.

Our small group had an energy and vibrancy that was intimate and exciting. Looking back through the year, I can see clearly how I have benefited both personally and professionally, from each and every module of the advanced diploma.


Personal Development:

The first module on “Ericksonian Therapy” was particularly exciting for me as I had missed the introduction in the first diploma and was not fully conversant with Erickson’s methods. It was obvious that this man was a genius and learning his clever use of language and metaphor would benefit me socially and professionally.

I have been using the techniques learned during the practice sessions in social settings, especially with family and friends and am finding it to be very effective in ‘persuading’ others to behave a particular way (for their benefit). I also became more aware of how other people and media may influence my decisions and actions using similar techniques and this has become a discussion point with friends and family as we analyze commercials and how they often prey on the general public using ‘mass hypnosis’ for financial gain.

As each module of the Advanced Diploma unveiled more information about the human psyche, the causes of conflict and suffering and ways of resolving conflict using all the various hypno-analytic/ therapeutic and cognitive therapy techniques, I found myself applying this knowledge to my own life and the journey of self exploration and transformation accelerated. The results have been amazing!

Learning and studying was something I endured with the anxiety that was a part of my life for as long as I could remember but this changed in the first few months of this Diploma. I believe that this change started with the increased understanding and awareness of my own emotional processes during the intensive modules on Archetypes, Parts Therapy and Inner Child work.

I noticed that I began to look forward to and enjoy studying. The familiar anxiety began to dissipate and the inner calmness that gradually replaced it has continued to grow. As I became more aware of my own and other people’s subconscious processes, the existence of sub-parts and the way they drive our lives, I became more understanding, more tolerant and less critical of myself and of others. The understanding that we are more than our parts and or thoughts has transformed my relationship with myself, my family and with other people in general. With this, the need to be right, to be approved of and therefore the fear of rejection receded freeing me to accept myself, other people unconditionally.



After completing the Diploma I was gleaming with confidence and a sense of self-empowerment, but the Advanced Diploma has given me further in-depth knowledge on essential topics that most of my clients will easily relate to. Every module was thorough with its own learning points that can serve as guidelines in my practice. In addition, the level of comfort with my colleagues made it a hugely enjoyable and interactive experience.

The Breathing Therapy module was profound; I have practiced the exercises often though I feel I have a lot of resistance going on in the form of powerful physical sensations. However I can recommend regular breathing to my clients to promote physical as well as psychological cleansing.

The confidence module helped me to work on my assertiveness skills that will be beneficial not only for self-development but in my professional life as well. It taught me how one can put their point across firmly without feeling guilty or giving in; something I needed to learn for a long time! I must admit I have definitely noticed some positive changes; maybe I’m still not able to defend myself in an unjustifiable argument, but I have certainly learnt to express myself if I feel I have been let down or I disapprove of something.

Everyone, including me, feels depressed at some point in their lives; unfortunately, depending on the severity, people tend to get pulled into a vicious cycle of rumination and find it hard to break through this feeling. The Depression and CBT modules have taught me to do a bit of self-reflection whenever I am ‘feeling something that is out of proportion’. With a little contemplation and EFT, I have learnt to get rid of ‘unwanted’ feelings within a matter of minutes. Even though I missed a day of the CBT module, the exam helped me comprehend the subject much better. The best part is how easy it is to incorporate CBT in a session with a client who is resistant to hypnosis.

Related to that, the grief and bereavement module was equally important. Although I have a lot of unresolved grief myself, I want to sort my issues and specialize in this area. The module took me through the stages of grief theoretically as opposed to what I had already experienced.

Working with children is another area that I’d like to specialize in, so that module enhanced my knowledge on how I can deal with different age groups. I feel lucky to be better prepared before starting my own family! And the icing on the cake was the last module on sex and sexual disorders; a lot of good insight for me! An essential topic that will not only enhance my personal life but has helped me overcome the taboos and stigma associated with sex.

Therefore with the understanding gained, I can combine hypnotherapy, CBT, NLP and EFT to widen my toolbox and assist each client depending on their individual needs. Overall it has been an amazing experience and I look forward to commencing my own practice soon.





I am moving back to the UK and so I have begun to make plans regarding my professional career development.

Wherever I decide to move to, I will give myself 9 months to see if I can build up a client base and become my own boss and, depending on the outcome, I will either continue with working independently if it is all going well, and possibly look at doing a BACP accredited Masters’ course in the second year of my return. My plan for the following next three years will then depend on what has happened within those first two years but, ideally, I will continue my work as a professional independent therapist.

CBT is very popular in the UK at the moment and so I would like to take the CBT course that Transformations Institute are running towards the end of this year to add another string to my bow. I may also be interested in finding out more about how to work with children therapeutically as that seems to be something of a recurring theme for me, and I enjoy working with children.

I am looking forward to what happens next because, in the past, I have hidden behind people or situations, and all manner of other excuses, to avoid having to actually put myself out there to achieve the things that I want to achieve. I felt that as long I didn’t ever really try, then no-one could say that I’d failed.

Through the courses and work that I’ve done with the wonderful Transformations Institute, over the last two years, I’ve realised that those people don’t actually exist, those people were me. And now that I’m being kinder to myself, and, now I know that, ‘there’s no such thing as failure, only feedback’ it’s time to get on with it! Thank you Leila and Phil!

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