Posts filed under ‘Hypnotherapy’

Anxiety, panic attacks and phobia.


By Clementine O’Shaughnessy, Dip.Couns, DHP, HPD, LHS, MBAC


Do you suffer with regular anxiety, panic attacks, or a phobia of any kind? If so, the symptoms listed below will be all too familiar…

  • Feeling constantly on edge with scary, anxious thoughts running through your head.
  • Feeling like you’re about to lose control and do something dangerous or embarrassing.
  • Getting light headed or dizzy with heart palpitations and dread.
  • Feeling disconnected from reality and spacey.
  • Feeling trapped in situations you can’t ‘escape’ from…i.e. driving, restaurants, social functions, or even standing in queue.
  • Worrying you’ll stop breathing because your chest and throat feel so tight. Your vision can get blurry, your hands and feet tingle, and your palms sweat.

You may have even seen a doctor fearing a heart condition or other emergency to have them find nothing physically wrong with you.

It really doesn’t help the situation to try and find the cause of your first attack, because the reason wouldn’t be of much help, because the solution is the same.

When you feel you’re threatened, it activates your body’s “fight or flight” response, which is a survival mechanism from long ago. Within fractions of a second, hormones pump through your body and prepare you to fight off a dangerous predator, or run away as fast as you can….

This is a GREAT response if you’re actually under attack or in danger. But when you’re in a shop, or at work, or out socialising, and there’s no REAL threat- it’s very disabling.

You see- your mind will respond the same to THOUGHTS of a wild animal as actually seeing one. Your response is an instinctual one, as you’re not reacting on a rational, logical level. You don’t really THINK at all, -you just REACT based on thousands of years of evolution.

It’s a reaction that’s occurring on a deeper subconscious level, which is difficult to change as it’s a protection.

Whenever you get anxious, your mind reflects back to other times you survived the panic and will AUTOMATICALLY react in the same way… this is often to run away, which simply perpetuates the same behaviour. This eventually lets the mind believe that it is CORRECT TO BE SCARED, thus making the behaviour worse…

In effect- your thoughts are encouraging the fear response. The remedy is to bring your anxiety down generally, to use hypnosis with a therapist to change the sub-conscious pattern and start to focus on what you see your life being like when you’re calm and relaxed.

This blog also appears on


August 4, 2012 at 11:17 am Leave a comment

The Power of a Positive Attitude

By Clementine O’Shaughnessy, Dip.Couns, DHP, HPD, LHS, MBAC



A positive mental attitude enhances the immune system, improves heart efficiency, stimulates the nervous system, regenerates organs, enhances digestion, aids the colon, (IBS) improves diabetes, extends lifespan, makes you calmer, happier, more in control and lifts depression and anxiety…

Learning to live your life with a positive attitude achieves many different physical and mental improvements. Not only does it protect you from illness (everything from raised blood pressure to cancer) it makes you happier generally.

Here are a few ways to help you achieve a better quality of life:

  • Do a random act of kindness whenever you get the opportunity (at least every day). The more you give, the happier you become – smile at a stranger, open a door, give compliments, laugh at people’s jokes, forgive etc.
  • Make an effort with communicating- ask questions and be interested in answers.
  • Be grateful, even at the smallest of things (- smile and say ‘thank you, I’m very grateful for…’)
  • Volunteer at a charity. This will give you immediate feelings of satisfaction and well being together with long term happiness. Volunteering will enhance energy levels and self-worth. Your social life may also improve as an added bonus. The impact on health has been found to improve headaches, infections such as colds & coughs and insomnia etc.
  • Treat everyone as equal, regardless of age, status etc. Suffering from discrimination can lead to coronary artery calcification and raised blood pressure. It also creates feelings of guilt in the discriminator.
  • Be in the ‘here and now’ by practising mindfulness or meditation.
  • Be compassionate towards people and they will trust you more.
  • We mirror other people, so by being kind, smiley and positive- we get it back too!


When we perform an act of kindness, we produce a neuropeptide called oxytocin (also called the cuddle or love hormone). Levels of oxytocin rise when we have sex, fall in love, give birth, breast feed or connect positively with others. It is also released when we stroke or play with a pet (particularly when there is eye contact).

The result of raised oxytocin is that our barriers go down and we trust more. This in turn makes others trust us.

Trusting others brings down our anxiety, fear and depression so enabling us to think clearer and make better decisions.

Oxytocin also helps us to read people’s emotions and interact better with them. We show generosity and compassion more readily.

Other ways to raise oxytocin are also achieved by supporting a loved one, giving a warm touch or hug, have a massage, be inspired by nature, art or music, look after a plant.

This blog also appears on

March 26, 2012 at 10:07 am Leave a comment

Do You Find Public Speaking A Challenge?

  by Clementine O’Shaughnessy, BA Hons, Dip Counselling, DHP, HPD, LHS

Have you ever clammed up at a party or found yourself tongue-tied at a meeting for fear of saying something stupid? This happens with the best of us – even though we are as intelligent as others in the room…

6 ways you can help yourself

• Pair up with person who is confident and out-going , or has a higher position within the group. In a social situation, this person can introduce you and keep talk flowing, or bring up your points in a business meeting and then throw you an opening into the conversation.

• Talk to the person running the meeting beforehand. Mention the points you want to discuss and ask for an opportunity to bring them up. Explain why you are asking.

• Prepare. In a business meeting, know what you want to say, practice your delivery and bring notes. This will help prevent you from being distracted by what others are saying.

• Rehearse the meeting / party going really well for a few seconds before you begin. If your brain has a mental picture of success- it will be more likely to present that in reality.

• Take a break. If you feel anxious or that your mental energy is dwindling, drink some water or go for a stroll to refresh your mind and body. Your mind and body often need re-setting like a computer.

• Realize others in the room are likely to feel the same way. Most of all – don’t beat yourself up about it – everyone gets nervous sometimes – it often looks endearing!


This blog post also appears on Clementine’s personal blog

February 22, 2012 at 1:18 pm Leave a comment

A New Drug To Treat Depression

  by Clementine O’Shaughnessy, BA Hons, Dip Counselling, DHP, HPD, LHS

Three out of four of British people experience depression at some stage of their lives. Most of these people do not receive adequate care. However, researchers may have discovered a new “drug” for depression that most people can take advantage of and utilize: Exercise.


In an American study, (which involved 80 adults aged 20 to 45 years who were diagnosed with mild to moderate depression) researchers looked at exercise alone to treat the condition and found:


• Depressive symptoms were cut almost in half in those individuals who participated in 30-minute aerobic exercise sessions, three to five times a week after 12 weeks
• Those who exercised with low-intensity for three and five days a week showed a 30 percent reduction in symptoms
• Participants who did stretching flexibility exercises 15 to 20 minutes three days a week averaged a 29 percent decline


However, most people who are not used to exercising don’t know where to start. Even the thought of exercise is daunting, especially if you are over-weight. When clients ask me about advice, I suggest gentle walking. Its easy, low impact on the knees and back, cheap and can be done at any time of the day.


A 2010 study on primates published in Neuroscience also revealed that regular exercise not only improved blood flow to the brain, but also helped the monkeys learn new tasks twice as quickly as non-exercising monkeys; a benefit the researchers believe would hold true for people as well.


We all know that children need exercise. We also know that they don’t get enough of it. Apparently less than a third of kids aged 6 – 17 yrs get 20 minutes of exercise a day. This is awful! Ensuring kids get enough exercise means a reduced risk of diabetes, improved immune function, weight loss, better sleep, improved mood, increased energy, reduced restlessness and stronger bones.


This blog post also appears in Clementine’s personal blog

January 23, 2012 at 11:30 am Leave a comment

Hypnobaby Course Starting November 15th


Hypnobaby is a 5 week hypno-birthing course. The course is run by two experienced hypnotherapists and expert hypno-birthers. The classes are being held at The Natural Health Clinic, 39 Cotham Hill, BS6 6JY. This antenatal course will be run on Tuesdays, from November 15th 2011, from 7.30pm – 9.30pm.

There will be a FREE taster session on Tuesday 8th November from 7.30pm – 8.30pm. Come along and see how it can help you have the birth you deserve.

The course will teach you: – 

  • How to deeply relax
  • Self hypnosis techniques for labour
  • To feel confident about your body
  • To be positive and ready for the birth
  • To voice your hopes and fears
  • To feel empowered
  • About the brain and hypnosis
  • The role of positivity and the chemical response
  • The neurology and physiology of pain
Research shows that using hypnosis in childbirth helps:
  • produce a safer and more comfortable birth
  • increase production of oxytocin
  • lessen the need for drugs and intervention
  • lower blood pressure
  • the cervix feel more relaxed
  • the labour to move faster and be less painful
  • strengthen the bond after birth
  • Mum feel less exhausted!
  • for a more satisfying feeling during labour
  • partners to feel more involved and able to actively support
  • Mums feel calmer and more in control during labour
The 5 week course costs £175/£300 for both mum and partner. Please pay by cash or cheque. Visit or contact Clementine 0117 9664318 / 07742170820 or Miranda 0117 9537163 / 077170865

November 2, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Are You Pregnant and Preparing for Labour?

by Clementine O’Shaughnessy,  Clinical Hypnotherapist (BA Hons, Dip Counselling, DHP, HPD, LHS)

If so, congratulations on the imminent birth of your baby!

Have you ever envied the ease at which animals give birth?  A cat having her kittens will find a secluded place in a dark corner. She will usually labour and birth at night when she is less likely to be disturbed.  Finding safety in privacy, she will give birth quietly and unaided.

When a woman feels safe and unobserved she will birth instinctively, just as animals do.

She experiences a more satisfying labour and is empowered by her body’s changing energy and power when she feels relaxed and in harmony with her body. In the absence of these conditions, women increasingly have medical interventions in labour.

Hypno-birthing is a natural, safe and empowering therapy. You will learn how important it is to feel positive and confident about your birth. You will feel prepared, relaxed, elated and empowered within your body.

You will learn visualising techniques and self-hypnosis; a natural, focused, day-dreaming state. This will relax you throughout labour helping you to conserve energy and speed up the birth.

Some benefits of hypno-birthing:

Often a safer and more comfortable birth, increased production of oxytocin, less need for drugs and intervention, mum less exhausted and more empowered, bonding often stronger, cervix is more relaxed and labour quicker and less painful.

Clementine O’Shaughnessy is a qualified and experienced hypno-birther. She works in three central locations in Bristol. She offers a free initial consultation. Subsequent sessions of 1 hour @ £50. Between 2-5 sessions recommended. Birth partners not only welcome, but encouraged.

For further information contact Clementine:
tel:- 0117 966 4318/  07742 170 820

June 7, 2010 at 11:39 am

Weight Control

by Clementine O’Shaughnessy, Clinical Hypnotherapist

Dear Clementine,

I have struggled with my weight for years and now feel desperate to be a normal size. Even though I exercise and try to choose healthy food, somehow my size just creeps up every year. I feel my confidence and relationships are affected by my size and I want to feel sexy again. Ive heard that hypnotherapy can help me to loose the excess weight and more importantly, keep it off. Is this true and if so, how does it work?


I sympathise with your situation. You are not alone with this problem as 46% of men and 32% of women in England are overweight at the moment.

Being over weight not only effects your morale and self esteem, but it seriously effects your health. These health risks include heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, cancer etc.

Over-eating is often a pattern of behaviour that responds well to hypnotherapy as often people tend to over-eat in an unconscious way. This leads them to consume more calories than they are aware of. Also, eating as a way of comforting themselves also leads to weight gain.

In the therapy we will look at all the areas concerning food i.e learning to eat only when hungry, sorting out emotional stress, issues around rewarding yourself with food, childhood beliefs such as ”eating all on your plate to please the cook” or ”eating so you don’t get ill”, self image as an over weight person, the preference of sweet or fatty foods, portion size, learning to feel full, consciously eating, the belief that sensible eating is deprivation, fear of scales, exercise and physical activity, bringing down anxiety so thoughts of food are less, learning to think positively about yourself, ways to motivate toward goals, learning how to keep weight off, using the imagination to  see yourself thiner, learning to feel confident and in control of your life etc.

The therapy is positive, goal orientated and relaxing. It takes 8 sessions which are weeky to start and then spread out as you make progress. We aim to loose 2lbs a week.

The sessions cost £50 each or £350 for the 8 week programme.

September 1, 2009 at 8:57 am

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