As someone who studies behaviour I notice the little things in language and actions. I’m sure you’ve noticed that in recent times almost everyone claims to have OCD. It seems to me that this is a much misused term. Being neat and tidy doesn’t necessarily mean you have OCD. All joking aside, I’ve written a little ditto to help explain a bit. If you also work with people I thought it might help you to notice the little things too…it’s not tool long, you never know, it might be useful.

Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is different from a phobia in that you might feel excessively anxious but without specific focus. You feel tense and unable to relax. You may feel many of the symptoms of a panic attack but without the climactic rush of panic. You may also be constantly worried about something bad happening to people you care about, and you may feel that your worrying keeps these people safe. The constant worry is very distressing and can make you feel that you’re out of control and might go mad.

Some people describe a strange and scary feeling of being ‘not quite there’, ‘unreal’, or ‘not in my body properly’. This is not in fact and Anxiety Disorder in itself, but happens very often so it’s worth noting. It happens when someone breathes in a shallow, fast way, which upsets the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in their system. It’s frightening, but not dangerous. If you’ve had anxiety for a long time and think you know everything it can throw at you, then it can be very frightening if these feeling of unreality suddenly develop on top of everything else you have to cope with.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) starts with obsessive thoughts, which are so upsetting that you search for a way to get rid of them. If your way is to carry out compulsive behaviours then you have OCD. Compulsions often have to be repeated many times before it feels like the thought has been cancelled out.
The obsessive thoughts are often, but not exclusively, about dirt and disease or about harming someone, either by accident or by giving way to an impulse. Thoughts about germs may lead to compulsive hand washing or cleaning. Fear of causing harm can lead to checking gas taps, electrical connections or the car.
Other compulsions may involve hoarding or a preoccupation with symmetry or arranging things in a particular order.

Sometimes there is an obvious link between the compulsive behaviour and the object of obsession, but in other cases there appears to be no logical connection. For example, someone believed they had to touch every lamp post they passed to prevent something dreadful happening to a member of their family.

Sometimes the compulsions are thoughts rather than actions. Obsessive thoughts about harming someone or doing something immoral or taboo may lead to compulsive thoughts about prayer to cancel out those obsessive thoughts.

Compulsions tend to increase over time, so that you find yourself having to do a longer ritual with more repetitions to achieve the same amount of temporary reduction in anxiety. This can be exhausting and so someone with OCD can eventually get to the point where they avoid as far as possible the things that trigger their compulsions. This can mean, for instance, that someone with a cleanliness obsession actually becomes quite dirty because they can’t face the enormous ritual of taking a shower or washing their hair.

If you have OCD you may well have always been a methodical, accurate and careful person. You may even have had a job that exploited these useful qualities. When you are under stress your useful qualities turn to OCD.

Sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish between OCD and a phobia. There is a sense in which most anxiety sufferers have an obsession – if you spend all your time worrying about having a panic attack, or finding a spider, or meeting someone in the street, then you are obsessed to a certain extent. And you could say that behaviours such as constantly checking a room for spiders, or crossing the road to avoid a meeting, have an element of compulsion to them.

But there is an extra dimension to OCD which is the link between the obsessions and the compulsions. A person with OCD usually has a strong feeling that they need to carry out their compulsions or some dreadful consequence will ensue and almost always feel that they must do their compulsion in a certain way – like a ritual.

So, if you’re afraid of spiders and you need to check each room for them then you have a phobia. If you feel that letting a spider be in the room is likely to bring bad luck or harm to yourself or your family and if you also check the room in the same way each time, then you have OCD. Similarly, someone who is anxious about the security of their home might double check that they have locked the doors, whereas someone with OCD might check repeatedly, locking and unlocking.

OCD can exist along other anxiety disorders such as social and health phobias and depression.

Please note, that the above does not apply to children..that’s a whole different story.

beliefs-wordleThe thing about your head is that it’s usually attached to your body. If you’re lucky it’s been attached all your life. Now, here’s the funny bit…why then do we take more notice of our feet (or any other body part for that matter) than what’s in our head? Sounds crazy? The truth is often weirder than fiction.
Unfortunately, most of us have very little idea of what’s going on in there and even worse, very little idea of why we keep doing things. That’s good news for therapists such as me but generally bad news for mankind I reckon. So let’s look at how, “coz it’s always been like that” has become my least favourite excuse.

What do you do?First look at what drives your behaviour…and then change it.

Many people would say that intellect drives behaviour, but I don’t think it does because many of your beliefs & values were absorbed even before you grew an intellect. I think that intellect tells you that the way to ‘cure’ overweight is to eat less – but don’t you think that sort of advice is a bit offensive and unhelpful to a large person?!
It’s the same with being in the wrong job (“Well – change it!”) or with the wrong partner (“Well, leave!”) and …well, you get the idea.
Advice like this is worse than useless – it makes the recipient feel criticised, weak, bewildered and angry….some coaches call this ‘Best Friend Coaching’.

What drives behaviour is beliefs and values that are rooted in our brains, often without us knowing during childhood and continue to be even though we’re big bad adults now (well some of us are). We’re not always conscious of them, but they sit there, telling us what to do, what to fear, what to want and what to hate until we die…worse still, in extreme cases they can actually be the cause of our death (but we’re not going there in this blog). Beliefs drive behaviour into our lives, making our lives what they are today. Beliefs by the thousand suffuse our thinking or should I say our feeling. They keep us doing what we’ve always done and getting what we’ve always got (I wonder how many times I’ve heard that one).
What it all boils down to is the fact that knowing your own beliefs and values is a Good Thing. So, what I thought I’d do in this blog is to explain a technique I often use to flush out beliefs. When you know what they are you will be in a much MUCH better place.
Now here’s the thing, some beliefs and values will be wrong and will not serve you well, they hinder you, they get in your way and they stop you doing things. These are called Limiting Beliefs (and values). You can easily work on reducing their influence in your life (when you know how).

What Is A Belief?

First let’s look at what a belief is. A belief is something accepted as true mostly without proof. For example, “The sun will rise tomorrow”. You have no proof, but extensive daily living has taught you that it seems very likely. This one is a reasonable belief and most of us share it. I wonder what would happen if we didn’t have this belief? Hmmm…just a thought that I might examine at a later date.
How about this one: “Everyone I love will crush me eventually”. I know people who know this; and I mean KNOW THIS. They don’t have a niggling suspicion that it might be true, they KNOW IT just as well as they know the sun will rise tomorrow. These are not happy people. Coaches call these beliefs ‘Mistaken Certainties’.
Just so that I don’t paint a totally gloomy picture, here’s another one, “I know that everything always works out fine”. A person holding this belief is likely to be peaceful, loving and happy – even if they’re wrong!
So – if these hidden beliefs are so powerful, how can we find the bad ones?
I use this technique regularly. I’ll write more in a separate blog (well, I’ve got to ensure you can back now haven’t I?)
As with eating an elephant, you’ll need to do it in small pieces; concentrate on one area at a time. If you’re working on being more sociable try listing your beliefs in the area of relationships and people.
Here’s how it could play out:
List the obvious beliefs about you or your world. Just sit and think about it with pen and paper. Write down sentences which start “I believe…”. Don’t think too hard – let your gut speak. Starting might be tough, but once you get going, they’ll pour out. You might come up with things like:
I believe good looking people are arrogant and selfish
I believe most people are liars and cheats
I believe I am fatter than most people
When my mum died, I finally knew that God didn’t exist
I know that no one can ever be trusted
When my business failed, I realised that I’m a complete failure

So What Now?

Once you have a list of beliefs, look at them. You are looking at your engine. You are looking at the things that push you forward and the things that hold you back. Your fears and your dreams laid bare. THESE BELIEFS are what make you do what you do and get what you get. If you want to get new and different stuff you’ll need to change some of them.
Now, this is the point you can finally get back to using your intellect…examine them in turn, evaluate them for accuracy.
Are they literally true?
What irrefutable evidence do you have?
Are they over generalisations?
Are they routed in a past which is no longer relevant?
Are they more about pain and fear – than they are about truth?
How could you modify the wording of each belief to remove the faults and make it accurate? Which beliefs need to go to File 13?

That Pink Mercedes Convertible  005

Now this is where you’ll be thinking “What is he on about now? What’ve cars got to do with anything?” Well, I’m glad you asked…
…you know how if you’re thinking of buying a new car of a certain type you’ll keep seeing that type of car in the streets? That’s because of a part of your brain called the “Reticular Activating System” (R.A.S.). When you load your new car into your conscious thinking, your RAS will note that you have an interest in it and it will remain alert for relevant sensory data and make sure that your conscious mind is made aware of it. It will do this subconsciously – you will need no effort to make it work. Those pink Mercedes convertibles were out there before, but your R.A.S. wasn’t programmed and so you never noticed them.
Well, now that you have examined these beliefs of yours, they will be in your R.A.S. and will start to trigger new awarenesses. Throughout your day, you’ll see events unfolding in which one of your beliefs is at work.
Well, I hope you get the picture. I have other exercises I use with clients, but this article is already too long, and you’ll get a good start from this technique.
That’s it for now…Stay safe.

Hypnocoaching and NLP offers many things to its followers and practitioners.  It’s all about expanding choices; wouldn’t you like to have more choices?

One way to expand thinking and to reveal other choices that might have been previously hidden from you is to think ‘differently’.  The process of reframing can be as complicated as you like, but essentially it’s about looking at things in a different way, it’s about taking yourself out and looking back into a situation as an observer…to be honest, it’s about lots of things that I’ll hopefully get around to writing about one day (hopefully).bank

Here’s a little metaphorical tool that I came across a long time ago and have used to great effect in many situations.  You will have read my past posts on the use of metaphors and you already know how powerful they can be.  This one is a metaphor that helps to reframe thinking and provide motivation.  Feel free to use it with your clients.  It works especially well for those who are stuck in a rut or require a kick start to examine their options…ALL of their options. 

It goes like this:

Imagine that you have won money in a competition:

Each morning your bank will deposit £86,400.00 into your private account just for your exclusive use (for those of my readers in the USA insert $). 

However, this prize comes with conditions.

The first set of conditions :

  1. Everything that you didn’t spend during each day will be taken away from you.
  2. You may not simply transfer money into some other account.
  3. You may only spend it.

Each morning upon awakening, the bank opens your account with another £86,400.00 for that day.

The second set of conditions:

  1. The bank can end that game, without warning; at any time it can say, “It’s over, the game is over!
  2. It can close the account and you will not be able to open a new one.

What would you personally do?

You would buy anything and everything you wanted, right?   Not only for yourself, but for all the people you love, right?  Even for people you don’t know because you couldn’t possibly spend all that on yourself, right?  You would try to spend every penny and use it all, right? 


Each of us is in possession of such a magical bank.  We just can’t seem to see it. 


timeEach awakening morning we receive 86,400 seconds as a gift of life and when we go to sleep at night any remaining time is NOT credited to us.  What we haven’t lived up that day is lost forever.  Yesterday is gone forever.  Each morning the account is refilled, but the bank can dissolve your account at any time…AND WITHOUT WARNING.

Well…what will you do with your 86,400 seconds?

Aren’t these seconds worth so much more than the same amount in pounds? 

Think about it…and while you’re doing that rethink about this:

Enjoy every second of your life because time races by so much quicker than you think. 

Take care of yourself and enjoy life…go on, try it, I promise it’ll be good.

Until next time.

BABY-IN-WOMBWe hear it all the time “Doh, I’m well out of my comfort zone” and “Oh my gosh, I can’t do that”. Do you know where your comfort zone is? How do you know? Truth is…you don’t know about them all… your comfort zones exists in a continual state of ‘bendiness’.

Pahaha, I can hear you all now, “Bendiness? That’s a new word, Shaun’s finally tipped over the edge”.

I thought I’d explain a few things about comfort zones, as I understand them. Those trainers out there can use this explanation when setting out your ground rules at the start of your sessions. Those Hypnotherapists out there can really watch for areas that clients might not be committing to quite as much as they might be telling you, the Hypnocoaches out there can use this information to safely stretch your clients and those Psychologists out there can…well…analyse it and write about it later? Read More →

Your guide to visualisationHey everyone, I trust you’re all well.  A bit of visualisation for you this time; the other day, as I was driving home from a particularly upbeat training session, I got to thinking about how important imagery was to us…well, come on….there’s not much else to think about whilst driving on the motorway is there?  It’s all around us – imagery I mean (not boring motorways), and IMHO we can’t live without it.  Even words, if you think about it, are a form of imagery.  Where would my blogging be if I couldn’t fall back on images in the form of words and pictures?

It’s because imagery is so important to us that we can use it very effectively in the Hypnocoaching world.  Imagery and visualising images is such an important tool that I can’t believe I haven’t written on it until now…Ooops!  I aim to remedy that right now with this blog, I hope you find it interesting…as always, please feel free to drop me a line if you’d like to discuss further – very competitive rates!  LoL. Read More →