We at Bjournal are very passionate about wellbeing, and are constantly looking for new ways to battle stress and anxiety. Liz Davies is a trained hypnotherapist and moved to Brighton in 2008. She currently owns Synergy Wellbeing, a treatment centre for those wanting hypnotherapy. Bjournal spoke to Liz about her business, and about how hypnotherapy can help you.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name’s Liz Davies, I’m originally from the Midlands but moved down to Brighton in 2008 so I’ve been here nearly 8 years now. It’s my favourite place to live in the UK for sure. I lived in Sydney Australia for a while and Brighton is the only other place where I’ve felt totally at home and happy. I’ve worked in mental health (with Social Services and then the NHS) for a total of about 15 years now. I always wanted to work in a job where I could help people, by listening to them and helping them to feel better about themselves. Working in mental health (from severe and enduring all the way down to mild/moderate) was always very interesting and rewarding in a variety of different ways, but I have wanted to be a hypnotherapist ever since having a session myself (to help me stop biting my nails!) – this was about 10 years ago. It took me a while to finally train in hypnotherapy but I got there in the end! And it was the best thing I ever did! It’s such a wonderful form of therapy, and I have seen incredible results pretty much from day one.
How did Synergy Wellbeing come about?
Synergy Wellbeing came about because I really wanted to put something of my own out there, to be able to be totally flexible with the kinds of treatment I could offer people, and ultimately I wanted to be the master of my own destiny! I set it up quite a few years ago but it took a while to get things off the ground – creating a website, networking, etc. My original plan was to offer sessions and workshops teaching people about wellbeing and stress management, because these have always been really interesting areas to me. I created an online stress management course called “Positive Vibes” in partnership with Rachel at Discover Wellbeing (http://www.discoverwellbeing.org/product/positive-vibes-stress-management-course/) – which was a great experience, and something that I really hope will continue to help people – but then once I trained in hypnotherapy, that has been my main focus really, because things just took off!
What are the benefits of hypnotherapy and how is it better than other therapies available?
Well, first of all, hypnotherapy is a gentle and relaxing form of therapy, which makes it really enjoyable too. Most people don’t really get the opportunity to really relax and hypnotherapy gives you that valuable downtime. People usually feel like they’ve had a lovely refreshing sleep when they finish the session – despite being aware of what’s going on the whole time. Hypnotherapy works by helping the conscious mind (our “thinking mind”) to relax for a little while and step to the side, so that we can communicate with the subconscious mind (our “feeling mind”) which is the most powerful part of us but doesn’t often get chance to speak. People tend to need only need a few sessions (3 at the most really) and a lot of people just need one session to see incredible changes! So it’s better than traditional longer-term therapies in that respect,and more empowering. Hypnotherapy helps you to get to the root of the problem and release previously suppressed emotions, which can be incredible cathartic and healing.
Hypnotherapy can help with almost anything! It can help with the more common lifestyle issues, such as losing weight, getting healthier and fitter, stopping smoking, cutting down on drinking, etc – and it can also help with long term emotional issues that are rooted in past experiences, such as low self esteem, fear of failure / rejection, etc. The client doesn’t need to be able to remember what caused the problem in the first place, because everything is stored in the subconscious mind and it’s not necessarily accessible to the conscious mind in their day to day life. Hypnotherapy allows those memories to come to the surface and be released, in a safe and relaxed manner. Previous clients have described it as a “warm and fuzzy” feeling, rather than traumatic or stressful in any way. Hypnotherapy can also help with phobias of any kind, and also things like better performance in exams or sport, enhancing memory, etc – it can even help with physical ailments because the mind has such a powerful connection with the body.
How would hypnotherapy help someone?
It helps by first of all helping the person to access a relaxed and trouble-free state of mind – one thing a lot of people don’t know is that all hypnosis is self hypnosis, and we go in and out of hypnosis all day long. There are 4 brain wave states – Beta (fully alert and aware) Alpha (relaxed and focussed on something in particular – ie. when we’re watching TV or day-dreaming) Theta (a deeper state of relaxation which we enter twice a day, when we’re about to fall asleep or just waking up) and Delta (when we are in deep sleep).
Hypnotherapy tends to use the “Alpha” state, so you’re just using a very normal brain wave state but in a very positive and therapeutic way. We can access our feelings and our imagination far more easily when we’re in Alpha. It’s why we can find ourselves getting emotional during a film – even though we know it’s not real – because we’re in a state of hypnosis and our emotions and imagination have been engaged.
Do you have any advice for people who want to have hypnotherapy but are unsure about it?
Yes I would say that first of all, you remain in control the whole time so I can’t make you do anything you don’t want to do. The hypnosis “stage shows” are quite misleading – they purposely choose people who are extreme extroverts and also highly suggestible (we’re all on a continuum) and so those people will do anything for the sake of the show. A lot of people wouldn’t want to “dance around like a chicken” so they are the ones the hypnotist picks off and tells them to sit back down. So you CHOOSE whether or not to follow the suggestions – your conscious mind is still there, and will not let you do anything that you wouldn’t want to do. This is a really important point. So if I make a suggestion to you to stop smoking for example, and consciously you don’t actually want to give up, then it just won’t work. If hypnotherapists could make people do anything, against their conscious will, we would be very powerful but also potentially very dangerous people! So it’s really nothing to be afraid or scared of. If you’re interested in trying hypnotherapy but have reservations, just get in touch and I can help allay any concerns. My website is www.synergy-wellbeing.com
And finally, what is your favourite thing about Brighton and Hove?
I love Brighton and Hove because of the vibrant energy of the place. It feels like “anything goes” here – literally! So people can be free to truly express themselves and be who they really want to be. There’s nothing better than that. I love all of the quirky shops in the lanes, the different coloured front doors, the vast array of places to meet friends for food and drink…. I love running along the beach, swimming in the sea (as soon as the weather permits!) and most of all I love all the wonderful people I have met during my time here, and continue to meet! I feel very fortunate for that and I am grateful every day for the gorgeous people in my life who I can call my friends